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Grand Rapids rolls out the first 'social zones' this weekend

Posted at 10:59 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 22:59:21-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids is rolling out the first of their social zones this weekend.

The initiative will give businesses more outdoor space for customers to social distance while simultaneously helping businesses get back on the feet after shutting their doors for coronavirus.

“The idea is simply to let restaurants serve more customers while allowing those who don’t want to go indoors yet to feel safe,” said Lou Canfield, the City’s acting assistant director of design, development and community engagement. “It’s a new concept for us and will be experimental in some ways but we’re ready to work with interested businesses and business organizations to make it work for them.”

The city and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. will start the process Friday, creating social zones at Monroe North, Bridge St., Center City and Heartside.

The city says some traffic will be disrupted for these social zones.

  • Bridge Street NW, Summer to Winter
  • Monroe Center St. NW, Ionia to Division
  • Ionia Ave. SW, Oakes to Fulton
  • Monroe Ave. NW (northbound detour only), Trowbridge to Bond to Newberry

If businesses inside of those zones want to participate, they can contact Mark Miller, DGRI’s managing director of planning and design, at 616-719-4610 or

The social zones will go until November 30, 2020.