Smithfield to close parts of Main Street for outdoor dining
Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2020
By Stephen Faleski
Smithfield’s Town Council last week authorized the closure of a portion of Main Street to allow restaurants additional space for outdoor dining.
The resolution, however, doesn’t specify what portion nor a date and time. These details, per the council’s instructions, will be left to the discretion of Town Manager Michael Stallings.
The vote had occurred after two businessmen – Joseph McCain of Fleur de Fou and Scott Horne of Taste of Smithfield – had asked the town to consider the matter during the meeting’s public comment period.
Mayor T. Carter Williams said he had been under the impression that most businesses don’t like it when Main Street gets closed for an event.
“Let me be the first to say, that’s not true at all,” Horne responded.
Councilwoman Denise Tynes added that she had recently spoken with Wharf Hill Brewing Co., which sits on the heavily sloped section of Main Street between South Church Street and Commerce Street, about the possibility of that restaurant using the town’s parking lot at the base of the hill.
The restaurateurs further suggested that the town open this to all Smithfield restaurants, not just those located on Main Street, and that it continue closing Main Street for outdoor dining on certain dates and times even after restaurants are allowed to resume seating patrons indoors at full capacity.
Several other Virginia localities, including the cities of Petersburg, Hopewell and Hampton, have also closed portions of their downtowns to facilitate increased outdoor dining since the commonwealth entered Phase 1 of Gov. Ralph Northam’s “Forward Virginia” plan for easing COVID-19 restrictions.