‘Parklettes’ helping local businesses

MEDFORD, Ore. – Months ago, the thought of eating in a parking spot on the street may have turned you away from a restaurant, now due to COVID-19 restrictions, businesses say ‘parklettes’ are helping business.

Both Grants Pass and Medford are calling their parklet programs a success. The programs allow businesses to expand onto the sidewalk or streets in front of their business.

“Its been a really nice improvement to the business,” said Larry Chase, the head brewer or yeast wrangler, as he likes to be called at BricktownE Brewing Company in downtown Medford. He said street seating has really helped the restaurant, since seating inside is still capped at 50%  due to COVID-19 restrictions. The restaurant even introduced a new beer to celebrate their outdoor seating space, Hop Central. 

“So that really limits the amount of people that can come and enjoy beer and food. Well, we’ve now added more capacity so we’re getting back to what our original capacity was,” said Chase. Not only can the restaurant serve more people, Chase said it helps bring customers who are wary of eating indoors.

“It allows people who might not have otherwise come an opportunity to come and enjoy,” he said. Customers seem to agree, including young diner, Abigail Selinger at Circle J’s in Grants Pass.

“I feel like it is very beneficial to all the businesses who are doing this because it can keep them  running. And that is very important to society,” she said.

The Grants Pass city manager says 92% of businesses are reporting to the city in an online survey that parklettes are helping with covid restrictions.

89% of respondents say ‘parklettes’ increased customers at restaurants.

A Herb Shop employee next door says she likes her neighbors, but doesn’t like the parklettes. The employee said the lack of parking in the area has made it more difficult for her customers to visit.

According to the Grants Pass survey, more than 70% of businesses say the value of parklettes outweighed the inconvenience of lost parking.

You’ll only be able to dine in parklettes in Grants Pass until September 17, unless the city council decides to extend the program.

The parklettes in Medford are approved until September 30 but could extend with the Mayor’s emergency declaration.

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