Push for weekend in-street dining at downtown Winston-Salem restaurants

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Taking the dining experience into Winston-Salem’s downtown streets is an idea one local business owner is trying to make come to life.

The owner of Camino Bakery has started an online petition seeking signatures from people who want to experience in-street dining on the weekends.

Many businesses, especially those in the restaurant business, have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to give independent restaurants more space since they’re operating at a limited capacity under the state’s mandate of Phase 2.

The petition is seeking permission from the city to close off the blocks of Fourth Street between Spruce and Liberty, and Trade Street between 7th and 8th streets every weekend for extra space for dining tables.

Young Cardinal Cafe General Manager Nick Shea thinks it’s a great idea. His restaurant is on Fourth Street too.

“A lot of people are still a little fearful to come out and I think if we had a little bit extra seating and it was a little bit more spread out, people may feel a little bit more comfortable to come to dine with us,” Shea said.

Allowing patrons to have more fun and different options seems ideal for Heath Key, who spent part of her Wednesday evening enjoying a salad in the outside dining area of Young Cardinal Cafe.

“I would participate if they had some in-street dining opportunities. I think it would be a great way to help the small and local-owned businesses and restaurants and as of right now I know of a lot of businesses aren’t open yet so I don’t think so it wouldn’t really affect the traffic in my opinion,” Key said.

Supporters say this is a safe way to still follow the CDC guideline for social distancing and give diners the option to eat in the street.

“I think guests would be receptive to in-street dining. I think more people would have more of an opportunity to come out and enjoy the weather and enjoy their favorite meals at their favorite restaurants,” Key said.

FOX8 reached out to the city to get their thoughts on this proposal and a spokesperson says they are still reviewing if this is a viable option.

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