NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Portions of George and Church streets will be closed starting this afternoon as the city makes room to expand its outdoor dining experience.

George Street will be closed between Albany and Church streets, between Church and Paterson streets and between Paterson and Bayard streets.

All streets crossing George Street will remain open.

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The closures will start tonight, but in the future, they will run from Thursday through Sunday. Going forward, the closures will run from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, the streets will be closed 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The restaurants will be open to patrons on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.

Roosterspin, Kilmer Eatery and Harvest Moon will be serving diners between Albany and Church streets.

George Street Ale House, Indochine and Glow will be serving diners between Church and Paterson streets.

Tavern on George, Rakki Ramen, Chai Chenak and Fat Cactus will be serving diners between Paterson and Bayard streets.

A portion of Church Street will be closed to allow for expanded seating for Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub and Salt. Since the metered parking areas on Church will be used to accommodate additional dining, free parking spaces will be provided in the Church Street parking deck for customers arriving for take out or pick up services.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed executive order No. 150 to allow for outdoor dining with several social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although some New Brunswick restaurants began making use of sidewalk space and parking lots to seat customers starting on June 15, Mayor Jim Cahill’s new executive order expands the outdoor dining experience.

Cahill said Friday during his daily COVID-19 podcast that the first phase of outdoor dining in the city went without incident, prompting him to expand it right out into the streets.

“Before the new regulation for outdoor dining came in, there were a lot of conversations going on with a lot of our restaurants throughout the city,” Cahill said Friday during his daily COVID-19 podcast. “We were working on a plan for the downtown at the request of some of the restauranteurs. And, not unexpectedly, there were a lot of ideas. Some people liked some, some people didn’t like some. So we said, ‘You know what, let’s just open up with the sidewalk version of things and go after that as assertively as we can, give them as much room as we can, be creative and expand the sidewalk areas that they would have access to, etc.’ And it worked well.

“And then we said, ‘You guys go figure it out. Let us know what you want. Any business, any restaurant or tavern in the city, whatever ideas you have, share them with us and we’ll be happy to review them. If we can get them done, we’ll get them done."

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