In pandemic times like these, it is critical to follow safety protocols established to reduce the effect of the coronavirus on our community. Wearing a mask and socially-distancing around others is more than just a mandate. It is a strategy for combating the pandemic as quickly and effectively as possible.
Yet, unlike the earlier Stay at Home public health order, you can still experience the “normals” of life like eating, drinking, shopping and recreating while wearing a mask and socially-distancing. Here in Downtown Huntsville, we are working tirelessly with our public and private partners to provide these opportunities in a safe yet still interesting way.
Simply put, Downtown Huntsville is open for business and has adopted strategies that allow us to follow safety protocols while also enjoying interesting experiences. Here are a few highlights:
1. We are implementing socially distanced version of the popular 3rd Friday Food Trucks and 4th Friday Art Walks. We are requiring vendors to follow the mask and all other public health orders and we’ve dramatically expanded the footprint of the events so that the trucks and artist tents are spaced many feet apart and aligned in a way that prevents their lines for ordering and waiting from food from intersecting with each other. Our friends at Church of the Nativity have implemented similar strategies for the popular Greene Street Markets on Thursday evenings.
2. Working with the City and Downtown restaurants, we’ve significantly expanded the amount of outdoor dining tables that are socially distanced from each other. This means more opportunities to eat your favorite foods and enjoy your favorite beverages while sitting outside enjoying the fresh air. While the research is still developing, initial studies suggest that the virus does not spread as effectively in outdoor areas. The expanded outdoor seating is designed to respond to that initial research while creating fun opportunities to engage in socially distanced experiences.
3. For the months of June, July, and August, we’ve worked with the City to temporarily close part of Holmes Avenue on Friday and Saturday evenings to remove the cars and replace them with tables. This popular initiative transforms the street into a temporary outdoor dining area and has been a big success.
4. We have partnered with our Downtown Huntsville Craft Beer Trail breweries to offer free masks to anyone who forgets to bring their mask with them. We also anticipate growing this program to other Downtown establishments as demand warrants. This means that, even if you accidentally forget your mask, you can still enjoy the Downtown Huntsville Craft Beer Trail with a complimentary one when you arrive at most of the breweries.
5. We’re working with our partners at Arts Huntsville and We Run Huntsville to safely reintroduce healthy, outdoor activities like our Downtown Secret Art Trail and Wednesday evening “We Run Downtown Huntsville” events. Plus, we are in final negotiations to bring the Downtown bikeshare program back soon thanks to our partners at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama and the City of Huntsville.
As you can see, even in these challenging times, Downtown Huntsville is open for business and offers a wide variety of safe and interesting opportunities to explore the Rocket City Center. Safety remains the highest priority and that’s why we engage in extensive conversations with many of our Downtown business operators on “best practices” for public activity in this pandemic. We are proud that the vast majority of our Downtown restaurants and shopping destinations are working hard to abide by public health orders while still meeting your eating, drinking, shopping and recreation needs.
Downtown Huntsville is open for business and we invite you to experience our interesting offerings in a safe and socially distanced way.
Chad Emerson is CEO of Downtown Huntsville Inc.
Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.