Kamloops, restaurants ponder pedestrian plaza to help with COVID-19 transition - InfoNews

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Kamloops, restaurants ponder pedestrian plaza to help with COVID-19 transition

May 08, 2020 - 8:00 PM

If you’re missing patio season in Kamloops right now, the businesses with the patios are pushing for the same thing.

You may soon be able to meet with a few friends for some food and drinks or take part in a permanent sidewalk sale as Kamloops considers closing downtown streets to help businesses flourish despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Carl DeSantis, executive director of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, says conversations about a pedestrian plaza are now underway.

“We could see restaurants and patios to allow more capacity and allow people to come in and support them, and I can see retail doing the same thing,” DeSantis said. “Sections of downtown, whether it be Victoria Street or somewhere else, (could) be closed off on an interim basis to allow people to come back downtown, maintain and respect physical distancing and support the businesses.”

DeSantis says this idea was previously discussed and piloted a couple of years ago on Fourth Avenue. Although it didn’t work out then, he says this could be the right time to see the project brought back.

“The majority of the businesses that we’re speaking with are very interested and very supportive of the concept," DeSantis said. "Unprecedented times require unprecedented responses. We need to find innovative, creative ways to reignite the business community. If this is something that could work, why wouldn’t we support it?”

The idea is something that is being considered in other Thompson-Okanagan cities. DeSantis thinks that this model may be the best way to go about business for the coming months, as the restrictions are slowly lifted.

“After hearing the premiere’s presentation (Wednesday), I don’t reasonably think that Covid restrictions are going to be lifted to a point where we can return to business as usual anytime soon,” DeSantis says. “It’s going to be a new way of doing business.”

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