For a while during the time before the coronavirus pandemic shut the whole world down, downtown El Paso had a pretty happening restaurant and club culture. There are all kinds of restaurants downtown in all kinds of price ranges. You can get a pretty serious foodie meal or a street taco plus a really good drink and nice atmosphere in a historic building. But the COVID-19 outbreak has left a lot of restaurants on shaky ground. Social distancing, seating restrictions, and general fear of heading back out have all conspired to make things tougher than ever for downtown restaurants.

There is a group in town that would like to see an Open Streets resolution to open up some more seating areas in downtown El Paso so that more people could come down to eat and enjoy the restaurants without sacrificing social distancing.

Velo El Paso says that the kind of closed streets and sidewalks you can see in Europe and other cities in the U.S. could be done here in El Paso and it could help revitalize the downtown economy. Scott White from Velo El Paso says that there are streets closed down around San Jacinto Plaza because of ongoing construction and those streets could be used by surrounding restaurants to offer more seating without sacrificing social distancing.

I gotta say, I love this idea. One of the coolest things about San Jacinto, and the downtown area in general, is that it really lends itself to sidewalk and street dining. Our downtown is compact and very walkable, and having people hanging out, grabbing a meal and a drink leads to other things like live music, outdoor movies, and a return to a pre-coronavirus El Paso that we all want.

This is something I could really get behind. I hope City Council gives this a good look so we can see a return to a fun downtown El Paso experience.

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