ROCKLAND — The Rockland City Council will consider whether to close the downtown to vehicle traffic during June in an effort to allow merchants to sell their wares outside.

The City Council is scheduled to discuss the proposal at its agenda-setting meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Rockland Main Street Inc. Executive Director David Gogel strongly favors the proposal.

“This would be a great thing for downtown businesses,” he said, adding it would create an open air market.

Gogel said the idea is not to attract large crowds but to allow businesses additional space and enable them to meet physical distancing standards.

The proposal would allow the city manager to close Main Street, from Park Street to Summer Street, from June 1 through June 30.

Businesses in the downtown zone would could use the sidewalks adjacent to their businesses to display merchandise and conduct business provided that it meets the physical distance requirement.

Restaurants would be allowed to place tables and chairs, and serve food and beverages, including alcohol, on the sidewalk, provided that the area where alcohol is to be served is cordoned off from the public and monitored at all times by an employee to ensure compliance with state and local requirements.

A sufficient travel way along Main Street would be maintained to allow for emergency vehicles.

Many downtown businesses have been closed while others have turned to curbside delivery during the past six weeks following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Gogel said downtown businesses are looking for additional details concerning Gov. Janet Mills’ plan to reopen businesses.

The City Council meeting, to be held via the online platform Zoom, can be viewed online on the city website as well as on the government cable access channel 1303. City Manager Tom Luttrell said anyone who wants a question asked can email him at [email protected] And anyone who wants to speak should also notify him and he will notify the mayor, who will be able send out online invitations so they can participate in the meeting.

The manager said the city may need to get permission from the state since Main Street is part of Route 1.


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