LOWELL, Mich. — West Michigan will soon be able to support downtown Lowell restaurants through the city’s new Showboat City Social District opening Friday.
Named for its iconic showboat, Lowell launched the social district to support restaurants that have been struggling with state-mandated closures and other restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release Wednesday.
The social district, which was approved by the Lowell City Council on Jan. 19, will enable residents and visitors to order and safely enjoy food and beverages outdoors in an area covering five blocks downtown.
The area extends on Main Street from the Hudson Street intersection to the Washington Street intersection and along the Riverwalk, which will feature three open-air, wood-fired warming areas.
Alcohol, beer and wine can be purchased from one of the six restaurants eligible to participate.
Signage will designate the boundaries for adults with open containers.
Alcoholic beverages may not be purchased in one licensed establishment and consumed in another, though they may be enjoyed anywhere outdoors in the Showboat City Social District.
“The idea for the social district came from one of our merchants, who approached me after the governor extended the shutdown of restaurants and bars to say, ‘What can we do to help them out?’” City Manager Mike Burns said. “We had seen the new state law permitting these types of districts, so we brought it to the City Council for consideration – and the support was unanimous.”
It will be open weekdays from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 12 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 8 p.m.
While masks aren’t required outdoors, the city is reminding guests to follow CDC guidelines regarding physical distancing.
Hand sanitizer and portable bathrooms will be available.
Dedicated members of the Lowell Police Department will be on patrol during peak hours.
“I don’t foresee the social district going away anytime soon, even during the summer,” Burns said. “We expect this may be a very popular offering year-round and look forward to welcoming Lowell residents and visitors to the Showboat City Social District.”