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This post was originally written by Digital Content Intern Patrick LaPorte. LaPorte is a senior media communications major at the University of Delaware, working as a news and sports reporter for The Review and sports director for 91.3 WVUD at UD.


The City of Newark plans to keep its “Main Street Alfresco” dining event alive this summer, even as COVID-19 cases in both Delaware and the United States steadily decline. Every Wednesday through Mid-August, Main Street will close from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and allow patrons to eat outside along the sidewalk or in the street at tables set up by a variety of restaurants. Leann Moore, the executive director of The Newark Partnership, which sponsors and promotes the event said the desire of the event’s atmosphere prompted its renewal.

“Even though capacity limits are no longer for restaurants, it is a great opportunity for all facets of the community both students and residents and just kind of a destination to have people come,” Moore said. The event started last summer as a way to assist restaurants that were handcuffed by COVID-19 capacity limits in generating more revenue. Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton said the local restaurants, “needed any and all assistance the city government could give them.”

According to Clifton, the city worked with multiple agencies including the Delaware Department of Transportation and the Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control to help put the dining event together. “I think it’s been critical for the restaurants to get one good night a week when the restaurants were effectively very limited in the amount of the people they could have,” Clifton said. “It was extremely popular with our neighbors through Newark and outside Newark, it made Newark a destination.”

The Newark Partnership received positive feedback from the restaurants about the event after it initially began, according to Moore. The Newark Partnership’s executive director said it greatly impacted waiters, who served more tables with restaurants at maximum capacity in the street. According to Moore and Clifton, outdoor dining will continue on a bi-weekly basis after the summer concludes and the school year begins, with the weather impacting how long it will last into the fall.

Clifton sees alfresco dining in Newark as an event that will outlast the pandemic. The Newark mayor said he was recently asked the question about its future. He hopes that it will become an annual event for the city. “I hope council in the future really moves to make it an annual event that obviously is weather contingent,” Clifton said. “I think it is one of the events that I think a lot of people expect us to do years into the future.” Moore also believes that a version of alfresco dining in Newark will continue into the future. She hopes future iterations of the event will allow other forms of businesses on Main Street to benefit. “I think for us as The Newark Partnership [we are] looking for ways to make sure that retail businesses and other businesses especially on Main Street having the street closed are also able to benefit,” Moore said. “We are definitely interested in supporting an iteration of the Alfresco, open street dining.”

Newark is among multiple cities statewide that began a similar outdoor dining event.

Hollywood Kyle is the Digital Content Producer and Production Director of Mix 99.5 WJBR. Being a Delaware local, Kyle takes pride in his hometown and has had a love for music since a young age. Hollywood Kyle joins the Mix Morning Show for abstract thoughts and ideas during "Hollywood Kyle" segment around 9:40am Monday thru Friday.