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Portland To Close Streets To Help Businesses Reopen Safely

Portland will close several streets to try and help small businesses and restaurants reopen while maintaining social distancing guidelines.The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to loosen permit restrictions and fees to allow some businesses to expand their footprint outdoors.

Joe Marro, of the Portland Regional Chamber, spoke in support of the plan. "We believe this will be tremendously helpful for businesses who have limited space indoors and for whom abiding by social distancing guidelines and remaining open will be almost impossible without this flexibility."

Streets to close to car traffic include Exchange Street, Wharf Street, and Dana and Milk streets.  And City Manager Jon Jennings said the changes could be applied elsewhere.

"This is not a program that is only focused on the downtown," Jennings said. "This is a program that is focused citywide. We are being very amenable to what we believe we can use in terms of city assets to be able to help our business community restart the economy of our city."

The policy changes will remain in place through Nov. 1.