Pilot program in downtown Reno to test limited street closure for extended outdoor dining

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 7:05 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Dining options could soon look different in downtown Reno as businesses continue to navigate through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Following the lead of other cities across the country, on Saturday, September 5th, the City of Reno will conduct a pilot program with two restaurants located on First and Sierra Streets.

Liberty Food and Wine Exchange and Blind Dog Tavern will be allowed to move their outdoor seating areas into the half-block of First Street shared between their locations. Each will limit their capacity to 25 people to stay within Nevada’s COVID-19 guidelines of no more than 50 in a space.

“We want to have safer seating for our guests,” said Brennan Best, Marketing Director for the Reno Food Group, which includes Liberty Food and Wine Exchange. “We can see people definitely feeling more comfortable eating outside.”

But with limited seating outside compared to their neighbors in the area, Liberty Food and Wine Exchange linked with Blind Dog Tavern to try and make something happen. Their initial proposal to the City of Reno included closing parts of Sierra Street to cater to multiple businesses in the area.

“We came to them with a very big idea,” said Best. “They saw the need and were very receptive to it.”

The Downtown Reno Partnership also aided in the maing the pilot program happen.

“We want to try to do everything we can to make up those losses everyone’s had,” said Mike Higdon, Marketing Manager of the Downtown Reno Partnership. “We’ve seen it in a lot of other cities, but not in Reno.”

“We’re hoping people will show up and enjoy it and maybe we can push for more street closures.”

As of now, the program will only take place on Saturday. The City of Reno will discuss at its next meeting before adding any other dates. Residents of the Palladio will have to reach the parking garage from Virginia Street.

“Without events, it’s pretty quiet down here,” said Best. “We just hope this can grow and expand and be good for everyone in the area.”

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