Beginning this Thursday, one block of downtown Turlock will be closed to cars so that the community can shop and dine safely while supporting local businesses.
Inspired by other communities that have shut down streets in order to allow outdoor space for restaurants and retail stores to operate during the coronavirus pandemic, the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association was granted a permit by the City of Turlock to block off West Main Street from First Street to Broadway over the course of the next few weekends.
The weekly event, Downtown Turlock Street Vibe, will see the portion of road closed from 4 p.m. Thursday through 11 p.m. Sunday as part of what City Manager Toby Wells described as “three-weekend trial.” The permit was granted under the City of Turlock’s Temporary Outdoor Permit program put into place for businesses which saw indoor operations restricted due to COVID-19.
Interim Director of Development Services Nathan Bray oversaw the permit process and said that the street would be available for businesses to do as they please, from restaurants setting out dining tables to retail establishments utilizing the space for clothing racks.
“The hope is that this makes an opportunity available for those businesses to keep on doing business while these health orders are in place, then when the orders are rescinded, they can go back to business as normal,” Bray said. “If this is really successful, maybe it’s something that sticks around for a while.”
Bray said that other blocks have not yet applied for permits to close their portions of the street, and that The Udder Place is providing security to ensure tables, chairs and other equipment left on the street will remain safe. According to social media posts, there will be live music as entertainment. Participating businesses include The Grand Cru, Cafe Rome, Bijou, Xhale Hookah Lounge, Urban Market, Intro, The Udder Place, Memo’s Cocina & Tequila Bar and First & Main.
“This is the City’s way of showing they support us, and hopefully other businesses throughout Main Street can do it, too. I’m grateful they’re allowing this because it’s a big deal to close any street,” Memo’s owner Karina Ramirez said.
She hopes that Downtown Turlock Street Vibes will not only bring in revenue for the downtown businesses, but bring the community closer during a difficult time.
“We’re all struggling together, so at this point we’re going to do what we can,” she said. “I’m hoping that people come out but are also respectful and remember to social distance, wear a mask and do their part.”