After a successful inaugural weekend, the first downtown dining district is now set to be a permanent thing through to the Labour Day long weekend. Many people enjoyed the closed down streets at the intersection of Wyndham and Macdonell last Saturday and Sunday, and after looking at the results, this dining district will be a regular feature for the rest of the summer.
“We learned a lot from the initial closure,” said Christine Chapman, acting manager of Economic Development in a statement. “The City and Downtown Guelph Business Association will continue working together on refinements to improve the dining district experience for everyone over the course of the summer.”
So what are the changes? For one thing, the dining district is now an ongoing affair. The intersection will be closed to traffic from Friday July 10 at 8 am until Monday September 7 at 7 am. Because of that, there will be regular waste pick-up on the normal schedule as opposed to last weekend when there was no pick-up in the areas affected by the dining district on either Saturday or Sunday.
In another change, the area covered by the closure will be slightly smaller than the one last weekend, and you can see the changes on the maps below; the one directly below is the new map for the dining district, and the one underneath that is the map from last weekend’s closure.
All other conditions will remain the same and the area will still be open to pedestrian and cycling traffic while Guelph Transit routes 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 99, Community North and Community South will all be diverted through to Labour Day. To see the full extent of those changes you can go to the Transit website.
The district will allow 17 different restaurants downtown to expand their patios and serve more people while allowing for safe physical distancing, and other COVID-19 protection measures.
“We’re thrilled the recent success of the dining district will continue and want to remind people that most roads in Downtown Guelph remain open,” said Marty Williams, executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association. “Whether you visit by bus, car, bike or on foot, you can easily access your favourite restaurant or shop.”
Elsewhere in Guelph, sports fields in area parks will start to allow for team practices and training again starting on July 13.
“We know sports and recreation are important for a healthy community. We’re working through the emergency orders and guidelines to help people get out and play, while preventing the spread of COVID-19. We’ll start to see more people using the fields on July 13, and we’re taking bookings until October 5,” said general manager of Parks and Recreation Heather Flaherty in a statement.
Users must still observe all emergency orders and safety guidelines from the provincial government, the local public health authority and the governing sports associations. The fields will not be marked or lined, games and scrimmages are still being discouraged, and unless you’re picking somebody up or dropping them off, spectators are being asked to stay way.
The City of Guelph loosened restrictions on parts and greenspaces back in May, but the City will not be taking new rentals on picnic pavilions and fields until September 8. All indoor rec facilities will also be closed until that date.