Royal Oak, MI

City Approves New Social District for Downtown Royal Oak

Matthew Donnellon

Image via Hall and Hunter Realtors

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So there is some good news for fans of outdoor dining in Royal Oak. The city just approved a new social district for downtown Royal Oak. In this new district patrons would be allowed to have drinks in marked cups and walk along Main Street as well as the connecting side streets.

The Downtown Development Authority sought the new district to help increase foot traffic and make better use of outdoor dining regulations and social distancing protocols. Local restaurants think it will help increase traffic “People can get a drink with us... and they can walk around, especially in the summer, and then come back when their table is ready,” Sandy Kish, general manager of Lockhart’s BBQ told ClickonDetroit.

WXYZ reports that the new district would extend along both South Washington and South Main Street and the encompassing side streets. The city council unanimously approved the measure, an extension of of a state law created last year to help restaurants during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Mayor Michael Fournier spoke about the challenges of the new district, “If we have any problems we can make changes. We’ll take it day by day.”

Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue did not object to the district and asked colleagues in cities that they have not had any problems with the outdoor drinking space. The new zone would allow outdoor drinking from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. which was previously illegal in most places in Michigan.

The Downtown Development Authority hopes to get the new space up and running by May. The new area would include the Farmer’s Market as well as the new park being constructed.

Royal Oak would join a number of local cities creating such a space.

With the pandemic limiting most indoor activities this new district will be a bright spot in the community. It would let people gather in a safer more responsible way, and it should work out well.

Highlights:

Who: Royal Oak Government specifically the Downtown Development Authority

What: They are approving a new social district for downtown

Where: Downtown Royal Oak’s Main Street and Washington

When: It is expected to be completed sometime around May

Why: It would allow socially distant socializing during the pandemic

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

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