Coronavirus recovery: City of Tampa closes roads to help restaurants, retailers amid crisis

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The road to recovery during the coronavirus crisis in Tampa includes blocked off streets.

8 On Your Side turned to Vik Bhide, director of the city’s mobility department, to learn how the Lift Up Local Cafe and Retail Recovery program will keep people safe as the virus lingers.

“There are two aspects. One, it increases their capacity,” he said. “The other, it is safer to have tables outdoors than indoors from a pandemic standpoint.”

Tables are required to be six feet apart, a CDC guideline, and people can’t congregate in the blocked-off areas unless they are dining.

Cathryn Greene biked from Carrollowood to Ybor City to enjoy lunch outdoors.

“I think caution is really key,” she said. “I mean, you see the beaches and people just have to be reasonable. Give people space, not overcrowd,” Greene said.

From a safety standpoint, 8 On Your Side learned measures are in place.

“All of our closures, as you see here, have rigid concrete barricades which will stop traffic altogether,” Bhide said.

8 On Your Side spoke to the owner of Zydeco Brew Werks along 7th Avenue in Ybor City. He likes the idea and is doing all he can to keep things safe and clean.

“I think bringing the awareness to being outside will probably help as long as everyone is careful and just does everything by the rules,” Paul Rutherford said.

The closures run 24 hours a day, except for the South Howard Avenue location. The city provided the following list of closures:

  • Twiggs St from N Tampa St to N Franklin St
  • N Franklin St from E Madison St to E Polk St
  • S Dakota Ave/W Snow Ave from W Swann Ave to S Rome Ave
  • E 7th Ave from N 15th St to N 19th St
  • N Franklin St from E Kay St to E Palm Ave
  • W Grand Central Ave from W Kennedy Blvd to S Hyde Park Ave
  • S Howard Ave from W Morrison Ave to W Bristol Ave

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