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Mechanicsburg will close portion of Railroad Ave. to give restaurants space for outdoor seating

The Cumberland County borough will temporarily close the street beginning Friday at 7 a.m.
Credit: Borough of Mechanicsburg

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — The borough of Mechanicsburg announced Tuesday that it will close a portion of Railroad Avenue to vehicle traffic to allow restaurants space for outdoor seating for diners who order takeout.

Beginning 7 a.m. Friday, Railroad Avenue will be temporarily closed from Main Street to Strawberry Alley, borough manager Roger L. Ciecierski said in a press release. The road will remain closed between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., so that restaurants in the area can use the space for outdoor seating.

A large part of Mechancisburg's charm is the close proximity of so many downtown restaurants and shops, Ciecierski said. But that same proximity, along with a shortage of parking lots and small sidewalks, makes it difficult for restaurants to offer outdoor seating for patrons, which is now allowed under the state's yellow phase of COVID-19 mitigation.

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"Everyone is well aware of the unprecedented times we're going through due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Ciecierski said. "This has hit our downtown restaurants hard. The Borough recognizes that the downtown could benefit from some space to boost the reopening and make the transition back to the vibrant livelihood we once enjoyed a little easier."

There will be no outdoor servers or wait staff, Ciecierski said. Patrons should continue to practice social distancing and other COVID-19 safety procedures.

Downtown restaurants are encouraged to participate and to encourage their patrons to use the outdoor seating, Ciecierski said.