Smooth first weekend of outdoor dining in Carlisle, open container ordinance temporarily lifted

Carlisle/West Shore

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The Borough of Carlisle has temporarily lifted its open container ordinance in the downtown district, meaning people can drink alcohol bought from businesses in that area on the street.

The goal is to re-stimulate the local economy.

This was the first weekend for outdoor dining and many say it went well in Carlisle.

Businesses adapted by using sidewalks, parking lots, parking spaces, patios, and parks for seating.

In addition to temporarily lifting the open container ordinance between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., the borough also streamlined the permitting process and waived the permit fee for sidewalk cafes.

You also still don’t have to pay for parking in the downtown area, for now.

Business owners who normally would be “competition” have been helping one another and staying in contact through social media about plexiglass and sanitation supplies.

“It’s also just interesting to have the feedback from all of the different businesses and how they’re handling it,” said Stephanie Patterson Gilbert, the president of Destination Carlisle and the owner of Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy shop. “What are they doing and then that may give you an idea. Without that resource, I don’t know if any individual business would know what to do, because there is information from so many sources.”

The group Destination Carlisle says before this weekend, some retail was slow, as people were still being cautious, but things picked up as community members ventured out for a bite to eat.

Patterson Gilbert says sometimes, if you see a line, it’s not because a business is busy or packed, but because they’re practicing social distancing in already small spaces.

“My big thing would to urge everyone to just be patient,” said Patterson Gilbert. “If your favorite store or restaurant isn’t going to do outdoor dining or be open right now, they will be. It’s a process. Just because the state says you can go, doesn’t mean the business feels comfortable yet themselves.”

On Destination Carlisle’s Facebook page, there is a list of all of the businesses in the borough with what is open, closed, offering takeout or making deliveries. It’s been updated more than 150 times and Patterson Gilbert plans to continue that throughout the pandemic.

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