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    Curbside program aids Muscatine restaurants during pandemic

    Margaret Stadtwald
    Margaret Stadtwaldhttps://discovermuscatine.com
    Margaret Stadtwald works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

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    MUSCATINE, Iowa, For the past nine months, local restaurants throughout Muscatine have borne the brunt of the economic turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shifting mitigation requirements and customers reluctant to dine in public have created many hardships for area eateries. However, many establishments have adapted by adding or expanding both carry out and curbside pickup options, allowing diners to safely support their favorite businesses and bring home some of their favorite foods. This month, the City of Muscatine and the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry lent their support to these efforts by rolling out the Curbside Pickup Parking Signage Program.

    In the weeks leading up to the new program’s start, the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Jodi Hansen, shared that City Council Member Peggy Gordon first contacted them about the idea. The Chamber met it with enthusiasm. Gordon’s plan entailed allowing downtown Muscatine restaurants to mark one parking spot in front of their location as a designated carry out and curbside pickup parking place, which patrons could use for a short period of time free of charge. Gordon then presented the plan to the City Council, which accepted it and voted to put it in place through Aug. 31, 2021, with the possibility of renewal if conditions warrant it.

    Once the City had approved the program, the Chamber contacted Sign Pro to begin creating signs for businesses to use. “The folks at Sign Pro really helped expedite the process and delivered our order in a couple of days,” Hansen glowed.

    Each sign consists of a white plastic sandwich board with printed inserts that say, “We are open, curbside pickup only.” All businesses that request a sign may keep the sandwich board and repurpose it for other signage needs in the future. Once businesses receive their sign, they may select a spot in front of their location to serve as short term free parking for their customers.

    If any downtown Muscatine restaurant would like to take advantage of this program, they should call the Chamber at 563-263-8895 or email Hansen directly at [email protected]. Once the Chamber hears from a business, they will work quickly to get them a parking sign.

    As the restaurant industry continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hansen believes many area businesses will benefit from the new parking spot program. “Restaurants in particular have been impacted by various COVID-19 public health orders and policies and it is necessary that these businesses adapt their service model to ensure they can remain open,” she stated. “Hopefully, this program will help make this service easier for both the restaurant and the customer.”

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