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Downtown Restaurants See Increased Business During Open Street Initiative

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake City is getting innovative on how to help out small businesses. Over the weekend you might have noticed some streets were closed.

It was an effort to get more people coming back downtown. There are similar sights and sounds downtown, but noticeably fewer people walking around.

Matt Crandall has witnessed it first hand. He’s in charge of food and beverage operations at White Horse, one of the 133 restaurants and bars in downtown that has felt the COVID impacts.

“It’s been difficult but we have made it through,” Crandall said.

They were serving up high sales this past weekend.

“It was fantastic,” he said. 

It was also thanks to the Open Street initiative launched by the Downtown Alliance.

No cars were allowed on Main Street between 4th and 3rd Thursday through Saturday 6 to 10 p.m. That’s because the point of the initiative is to get people walking through the city – and expanding outdoor seating.

“It definitely helped increase our margins to go from losing money to making a little money,” Crandall said. 

The executive director of the Downtown Alliance says White Horse isn’t the only success story. There were up to 2,000 people that showed for the event – mentioning they did it in a socially distanced safe fashion.

The Alliance is looking at options to expand Open Streets past Oct. 10th.

“We hope so!” said Crandall. “If the weather permits, we’re gonna try and do it as long as the state and Downtown Alliance allows us to.”

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