Clearwater closing portion of Cleveland Street for stores, restaurants to expand

Following similar announcements from Tampa and St. Petersburg, city officials in Clearwater said part of a major downtown street will be closed through the end of May to help businesses.

On Tuesday, the city announced 400 and 500 blocks of Cleveland Street will be closed to vehicular traffic through May 31. This will be an opportunity for businesses to expand to the outdoors as long as they following the social distancing guidelines required in the governor's executive order.

Right now, restaurants must operate at 25% capacity in their dining rooms, while retailers must operate at 25% occupancy indoors, as well. There is no limit outside as long as everyone is spread six feet apart.

Clearwater will allow tables and chairs to be set up in Cleveland Street for additional room. 

Restaurants must maintain the cleanliness of their outdoor dining area, including removing trash and debris, disposing them in the appropriate containers. 
Northbound and southbound traffic for Osceola, Fort Harrison and North Garden Avenues will be open for vehicular traffic.

"Closing the 400 and 500 blocks of Cleveland Street will help our businesses serve more customers while maintaining safe distances. This is the perfect time of year to dine outside and support local restaurants in downtown," said Amanda Thompson, director of the city of Clearwater's Community Redevelopment Agency. 

City officials issued the following guidelines for businesses to follow:

- Prohibit sick employees in the workplace. 
- Comply with strict hand-washing practices. 
- Implement strong procedures and practices to clean and sanitize surfaces. 
- Ensure the person in charge is on site at all times during operating hours. 
- Apply physical distancing measures based on square footage of service areas. 
- Not allow 10 or more guests to congregate in waiting areas