Hoboken announces multi-pronged plan to reopen small businesses with outdoor operations

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The City of Hoboken has announced a multi-pronged plan to reopen small businesses that includes several different ways to provide outdoor operations.

Photo courtesy of the City of Hoboken.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The plan, which will be introduced as an ordinance before the city council, permits businesses to expand outdoor space on the sidewalk, create shared spaces, and creates a framework for businesses to operate further into the street during scheduled road closures.

“When the governor eventually gives the green light for business to gradually re-open, we are committed to ensuring they can accommodate customers in the safest and most socially distant manner possible with expanded sidewalk cafes, shared spaces, and open streets,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement.

“I will look to take every effort to provide our brick and mortar businesses with expanded spaces and opportunities to succeed after this pandemic and any ordinance that takes a step in the right direction to do that I will be supportive of,” added Council President Jen Giattino.

The new concepts include a sidewalk cafe expansion, which would allow an extra hour of operation on Thursdays, Fridays an Saturdays, “streateries” which would convert parking spaces into outdoor dining areas, converting curbside parking into a mini-park, opening certain streets just for businesses and pedestrians, and retail use for sidewalks.

Each measure would require an expedited approval process, officials said.

Last week, Giattino, along with 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, introduced an ordinance to expand outdoor cafes, before announcing measures to use kiosks at Pier A – as well as utilizing parking lots as retails space – earlier today.

“Council President Giattino and I have been working to develop innovative plans to help our small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic for the past several weeks,” DeFusco said.

“It’s great to see that the administration is now advancing the ideas we’ve put forward because now, more than ever, we need to work collaboratively to help our small businesses succeed in Hoboken.”

The city is exploring various options with the Hoboken Business Alliance and other groups to help subsidize the cost of the streateries, parklets, and open streets.

“I am very hopeful and confident the city will take care of small businesses and do everything in their power to help us through measures like this ordinance, which has my full support,” noted Grace Sciancalepore, co-chair of the city’s Economic Recovery Task Force.

“The Hoboken Business Alliance is thrilled to see the city offering options to businesses across Hoboken and we want to continue to support these and other efforts to see businesses open as soon as possible, but safely,” stated Greg Dell’Aquila, the Hoboken Business Alliance president.

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