HOBOKEN, NJ — With the challenges of social distancing impacting the business model worldwide, the hospitality industry understands that it needs to think outside the box—or even outside the building.

Initiatives in Hoboken have been spearheaded by Council President Jen Giattino and First Ward Councilman Michael DeFusco, who introduced legislation at last week's meeting to expand Hoboken's outdoor dining capabilities and give restaurant owners and patrons alike a bit more room to breathe.

Furthermore, they are exploring an initiative to open up parking lots and the long-unused kiosks on Hoboken's iconic Pier A for use by small businesses, food trucks, and other retailers.

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“Hoboken’s small businesses are the backbone of our community, and we must do all we can on the legislative level to help them succeed in the new era of social distancing," said Giattino and DeFusco, via a joint statement. "The time will soon come where stay at home orders are lifted, but businesses will need all available resources to adapt to new capacity and operating regulations. We’ve already laid the groundwork to reactivate kiosk use on Pier A and now, there has never been a greater need for outdoor retail and dining options.” 

That said, Hoboken's parking situation is notoriously contentious at the best of times, with revenues from parking providing a significant boost to a municipal budget that was in dire straits long before COVID-19 hit.

The challenge now is finding a balance. Giattino and DeFusco seem confident in their proposal.

"By opening these kiosks and additional lots throughout our city to small businesses, we’re expanding their ability to operate without being confined to brick and mortar retail space. The small businesses legislation we’ve proposed on the City Council has already paved the way for the administration to work with us to ensure our local economy recovers and mom and pops continue to call Hoboken home for decades to come."

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