BEAUFORT, S.C. (May 13, 2020) – The City of Beaufort, recognizing that its merchants have suffered hardships during Covid-19 restrictions, is adopting several measures to help restaurants and retail shops during the summer months.
These “Together Beaufort” measures were presented to City Council at its Work Session and Regular Meeting on May 12. These measures will begin on June 1 and expire on Aug. 31.
- Restaurants whose property is contiguous to City-owned property, such as Waterfront Park, can lease an outdoor parcel up to 400 square feet for $10 a month for 90 days beginning June 1. This will allow restaurants to expand outdoor dining. Restaurants will have to comply with their state Alcohol Beverage Licensing permits as well as follow fire and code requirements, said Linda Roper, director of the Department of Downtown Operations. Restaurants will be allowed to set up tables before June 1, she said, and payments will start in June. City Council had a first reading of this ordinance May 12.
- All-day free parking will be allowed in the Marina parking lot on Fridays and Saturdays beginning June 1. Metered paid parking on streets and in other city lots will be enforced, Roper said. Metered parking on the street encourages turnover, Roper said, and leads to more foot traffic for merchants. Curbside pickup zones outside restaurants will still be allowed.
- New guidelines allowing more leeway on signage, banners, and sidewalk sales for all merchants will be issued by the City’s zoning office.
Roper said she worked with the Downtown Beaufort Merchants Association, the Beaufort Area Hospitality Association, and the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce to come up with practical but temporary measures that would be helpful to merchants and give a boost to their businesses as their operations are being modified to address the ever-changing environment.
She said about seven downtown restaurants were located next to City property and could take advantage of these “transition parcels.” She encouraged restaurants that had private landlords to see if something similar could be arranged.
The City has also put together a Covid-19 handbook for local businesses and is offering a concierge service to help businesses that are having difficulty accessing federal aid programs.
“We have always tried to be a good partner to our downtown merchants,” Roper said. “We want our local businesses to thrive, and we will do what we can to help them during these tough times.”
The City of Beaufort continues to urge that anyone who shops or visits a restaurant to observe social distancing measures, and wear a mask, especially in shops. Some merchants are providing free masks to customers and will not allow customers inside unless they wear a mask.
Mayor Billy Keyserling distributed 1,000 free masks last weekend (which he personally bought) to various merchants including Lulu Burgess, 917 Bay St.; Beaufort River Glass, 812 Bay St.; 95 Praise, 907 Craven St.; Grounded Running, 2139 Boundary St., # 108; Bricks on Boundary, 1422 Boundary St.; Bill’s Liquor and Fine Wines, 132 Sea Island Parkway; Mobile 1 Lube Express, 181 Sea Island Parkway, and Zen Den, 707 Paris Ave., Port Royal.
Those who are interested in supporting this endeavor can contribute online to Beaufort Pride of Place, https://www.cityofbeaufort.org/475/Beaufort-Pride-of-Place, or mail a check to Beaufort Pride of Place, City Hall, 1911 Boundary St., Beaufort 29902.