Philadelphia restaurants serving patrons on the street leaves some frustrated with lack of parking

Outdoor dining has become a lifeline during the pandemic for struggling restaurants. And, it’s also helping people get out of the house and keep at a social distance.

But, it seems everyone isn’t in love with the concept. They’re upset about the space outdoor dining is taking up.

There are two things people will have a hard time finding in Fishtown.

Actual fish.

And, parking spots.

“It would take me 30 to 40 minutes sometimes to get a parking spot,” stated small business owner Bianca DePietro.

Since June 11th, restaurants in Philly have been allowed to serve customers outdoors.

A saving grace for restaurants with sidewalk space or a parking lot, but what about those without? Those restaurants can now become “Streeteries” This allows them to turn street parking spots into outdoor dining.

“We just want to be able provide a little bit more distancing between our guests and neighbors walking down the street,” explained Matt Williamson.

Nearby business owner Bianca DePietro says parking here is always a pain, even before COVID.

“There’s construction going on constantly all over and they take more for the restaurants which I totally understand and support. Maybe we should make it a little easier to come down to the area because it hurts the shops and the resuarants, too,” DePietro explained.

Matt Williamson is the General Manager at W.M. Mulherin’s & Sons in Fishtown. He says he knows how valuable the spots are and understands why some might be upset over the loss of spots but urges patience.

“This is only temporary and we are changing with the times like everyday else is. We’re trying to manage and make sure that we’re doing what we can to not only take care of our guests, but take care of our staff and if putting a little extra space everybody is what we need to do then we’re happy to do it,” Williamson said.

Mai Nguyen and Mary Kate Baffa work at Center City Fitness in Fishtown. That also just reopened. They both say they totally support restaurants doing what they can to survive.

“I feel there’s plenty of parking here. In Center City, I think that it would be atrocious. Here, I don’t think we have too many issues parking,” Mary Kate commented.

“No, I feel like people want to support the local businesses to make sure they can stay afloat,” Mai added.


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