Mayor, restaurateurs proclaim downtown is back

Mayor Jorge Elorza is flanked by downtown Providence restaurant owners May 7, 2021 as he urges shoppers and diners return to the capital, proclaiming “downtown is back”. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Saying downtown is back, Providence restaurateurs were joined by the mayor Friday to say they’re doing all that they can to attract diners, shoppers and everyone back into the city that is emerging from its more than year-long shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Jorge Elorza said the city is waiving fees for restaurant owners, planning to close streets to foster more outdoor dining, and suspending parking charges in areas where metered parking is traditionally suspended during holiday shopping, all in a bid to draw more people downtown.

“Providence is open for business,” said Elorza. “We are at the tail end of this pandemic and we just want everyone to know that… please come down to Providence.”

Elorza spoke along with several restaurant owners in front of Ellie’s on Weybossett Street, where owner Ellen Slattery also appealed to diners.

“We are so looking forward to the theaters reopening, events happening downtown, streets being closed and celebrations happening,” said Slattery, who also owns Gracie’s restaurant a few blocks away.

“Please, come out and join us. We are taking measures to make sure everyone is safe, and we need to get through this and survive,” she said.

In addition to street closings and fee suspensions, Elorza hinted at special events, arts and entertainment programs in the months to come through the spring, summer and fall.

He said details about the city’s permitting and guidelines for outdoor events are on the city’s website: