Outdoor dining draws crowds to downtown Hanford

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HANFORD, Calif. (KGPE) — Downtown Hanford businesses are getting a boost during the pandemic.

Community group Main Street Hanford recently organized a weekly Dine Out Downtown event.

“We missed being open. It is a huge, huge thing for us,” Brian Alves the co-owner of Hop Forged Brewing Company said Friday.

Executive Director of Main Street Hanford, Michelle Brown, said restaurants in the area don’t have many outdoor seating options or parking lots to take over. So they started the event which closes off Seventh Street between Erwin and Harris every Friday evening to give them some space.

“People want to go out to restaurants, and they also want to stay safe, so this gives them the opportunity to be outdoors and still be able to have dinner and enjoy a beautiful evening in downtown Hanford,” Brown said.

She said they don’t know the economic impact yet.

But Alves said it’s been tremendous. They’ve had only been doing takeout and now they’re able to fill about half the block with roughly 20 tables. He said they do everything the proper way, following all distancing and sanitation guidelines.

“We hear nothing but good things. People kind of feel the same way they’re just cooped up in their houses and very thankful just to be able to sit somewhere and enjoy themselves,” he said.

Five restaurants are participating and many shops are staying open later too.

“It’s really refreshing to see people downtown,” Ashlynn See said.

See opened her bridal boutique right as COVID-19 hit and said the added foot traffic is great for her new business.

“Just being down here having the doors open, the light on. It just kind of gives the community (the sense that) this isn’t an empty building anymore, we’re here we’re open,” she said.

The event happens every Friday from approximately 5:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. Brown said it will continue until dining is allowed indoors again.

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