Originally scheduled to run through August, the “Eat & Shop Local” program in North Bergen has been extended into September due to popular demand.
The initiative involves closing parts of streets to allow local restaurants to expand seating into the street, given restrictions on indoor dining.
While indoor dining is set to resume on Sept. 4 per Gov. Murphy’s announcement, only 25 percent capacity is allowed meaning that outdoor dining will continue to play an important part in helping businesses stay afloat.
More than 40 local restaurants and dining establishments have participated in the initiative created by Mayor Nicholas Sacco, the Board of Commissioners, and Freeholder Anthony Vainieri to help local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a weekend off for Labor Day, the program will continue to close certain blocks to vehicular traffic on weekends to create pedestrian malls, allowing restaurants and businesses to expand into the street to serve customers while maintaining social distancing.
“Eat & Shop Local was created by the township to help our local business that suffered significant losses as a result of the pandemic,” Sacco said. “I’m deeply grateful to everyone who came out to support our neighborhood restaurants and business owners.”
A movable feast
Residents and visitors have eagerly taken advantage of the program every weekend so far, according to the township. Many people return regularly as the program moves from one location to another, highlighting a new selection of international restaurants and fine cuisine each week.
Streets will be closed to traffic from 3 p.m. on Fridays until 10 p.m. on Sundays.
From Sept. 11 to 13, Broadway will be closed for “Eat & Shop Local.”
From Sept. 18 to 21, outdoor dining will shut down Bergenline between 76th and 82nd.
From Sept. 25 to 27, Bergenline between 70th and 76th Streets will be closed.
On Saturday, Sept. 19, Eat & Shop Local will take place in conjunction with the annual Classic Car Show, from 79th to 85th Streets on Bergenline Avenue.
Patrons must wear masks and practice social distancing.
“It’s been wonderful to see everyone enjoying this opportunity to get outside and sample our many delicious dining options while maintaining safe social distancing,” Sacco said. “I hope to see even more friends and neighbors during round two in September.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.