DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - Dubuque's Main Street is hosting a series of outdoor dining events to help restaurants impact by COVID-19.
The restaurant industry was one of the hardest-hit businesses when the pandemic began. Although restrictions have been lifted for many establishments, many consumers have been hesitant to dine indoors.
The City of Dubuque is closing off portions of its downtown streets to allow local restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas. Michaela Freiburger, Program Specialist for Dubuque Main Street, said since it kicked off four months ago, the series has been a hit.
"It gives the abilities for our participating restaurants to increase their capacity," said Freiburger. "And it also gives us the ability to incorporate live music and some other arts components into this concept. So that way it makes people feel a little safer than having to go inside. Which some people are still hesitant to do so."
The restaurants participating in tonight's event include The Food Store, Jubeck New World Brewing and Oolong Asian Cuisine located off of 11th Street. Additionally, Barrel House and Caroline's Restaurant located off of 3rd Street.
Michael Brietbach, owner of The Food Store, said he saw a spike in business during the pandemic. He believes coronavirus may have influenced more people to purchase organic foods.
"A lot of people heard about 'underlying conditions,' and got really smart about that if your diet is poor and you suffer from a bad diet, then you're more likely to suffer more if you do get into contact with COVID-19," said Breitbach.
Freiburger said she hopes the series will encourage more people to shop and visit Downtown Dubuque than prior to the pandemic.
"If I feel comfortable walking into these restaurants and say, 'Hey, let's do some outdoor dining,'" said Freiburger. "And they're willing to follow guidelines and rules by leaders set forth in our community, then I feel really comfortable with moving forward and having these types of events Downtown."
The last outdoor dining event will happen Saturday, June 27th at the intersection of 1st and Main Streets.