LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — More people are heading outside to grab a bite to eat, as Nevada slowly reopens from COVID-19 closures. The City of Las Vegas has introduced special outdoor dining spaces downtown to help both customers and local restaurants.
From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, the City of Las Vegas closes half-block sections in the downtown arts district, and near Fremont Street, placing tables and chairs for people to enjoy a bite to eat. City staff wipe everything down in between seatings to combat the coronavirus and Las Vegans are making the most of the electric environment.
“We felt it was the appropriate time to get outside,” said Graham Wheeler. “People are being socially distant by themselves, and on top of that with the tables spaced out, the cleaning crew being really attentive to when people get up and leave, and everyone’s just being respectful of space.”
“It’s the first time we’ve been out in a really long time, so it’s actually the perfect time, the weather is great,” said Tara Tira. “I feel very comfortable and safe tonight.”
The new outdoor seating space is also a way to help boost business at nearby restaurants, as many begin opening during Phase 1.
“We’re doing the half capacity table seating, no bar seating until phase 2,” said Keith Bracewell, assistant general manager of Esther’s Kitchen.
While indoor seating at Esther’s Kitchen is limited, the assistant general manager tells 8 News Now the downtown dining arrangement right outside their doors is encouraging more customers to come by.
“We’ve been doing about the same numbers because people are able to get that food to go and bring it outside and kind of enjoy the outside open space dining,” Bracewell said.
City officials say it’s their way of offering a helping hand.
“I think the biggest benefit really is for the businesses that can open maybe earlier than they thought they would be able to,” said Brandy Stanley, parking services manager for the City of Las Vegas.
As Nevada continues its phased reopening, some say this special seating will become a terrific new tradition.
“It may become a Saturday night happy hour type of situation,” Wheeler said.