SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Salt Lake City‘s Main Street got the jolt it needed as people got out to enjoy music, restaurants, shops, and street performers Thursday night.
The lively atmosphere comes with the Salt Lake City Open Streets initiative.
For many, pounding pavement never looked so good.
“Since lockdown, nobody has been able to get out and do anything, so this is a really good celebration to reconnect with your community,” says Katie Ortiz.
“I love it. People are out there with no masks,” Sandia Hohmann adds.
Foot traffic is a much-needed element on Salt Lake City’s Main Street.
“It’s been a long year, I can tell you that much,” Matt Crandall, the director of food and beverage with the Burbon Group, tells us.
While spirits mix and food fly’s out the kitchen at the White Horse, there’s a feeling 2021 is picking up where 2019 left off.
“Hopefully we can recoup some of the losses we have had over the last year,” says Crandall.
The increase in business creates a demand for employees, something that’s been hard to find in the hospitality sector.
“I know a lot of people left the industry because it was just so difficult, to begin with, and then they weren’t making the money they were supposed to be making,” he adds. “I think people getting out and supporting these local restaurants will really, probably, help curve some of that problem that we are going through with staffing.”
Salt Lake City’s Open Streets allows people to walk to see more than 150 businesses along Main Street from 400 South up to South Temple Thursdays through Saturdays from noon to midnight.
“This was good for all of them. Whether you’re on Main Street or not, we know that this gathering is going to help all of those businesses,” says Executive Director Dee Brewer with the Downtown Alliance.
While enjoying a scooter ride, Mayor Erin Mendenhall stopped by ABC4’s Jason Nguyen saying this is just the beginning of downtown’s economic recovery.
“Downtown’s farmers market is going to open up, Twilight Concert Series is upcoming, and gosh our Capitol City is on the rise,” says Mayor Mendenhall. “It is not just good for our economy, it’s so good to see people’s faces. After 2020 this couldn’t be a more welcome activity.”
With vaccinations up, officials say there’s only one thing people need to know.
“It is time to have fun. It is time to socialize, and you’ve got this weekend and all summer long to enjoy the entertainment,” Brewer says.