Ashland prepares businesses for soft opening Friday

Ashland prepares business for soft opening Friday

ASHLAND, Va. (WWBT) - The hustle and bustle of South Railroad Avenue in Ashland will slowly return starting Friday, but you won’t see any vehicle traffic along certain parts of the roadway.

“We’ll probably close the [roads by the] railroad tracks completely, at least one block. It may be a block or two on each side,” said Ashland Mayor Steve Trivett, “We’re hoping that the retail and restaurants can move further out.”

“Parking to patio,” as Trivett calls it; the sidewalks will become a dining space, complete with tables and chairs, and the streets will be temporary sidewalks.

“We may be able to have a little more space to extend our patio out, and maybe zig-zag out tables a little bit or something along those lines," said Iron Horse Restaurant owner Rusty Stone.

Stone says he’s excited for the soft reopen, but that it also comes with its own set of challenges - apart from working with the new, socially distanced layout:

"It’s a lot less tables than we’re used to, we got to be prepared to do some table service, as well as curbside service,” Stone said.

All of this is being made possible by a $35,000 grant that the town’s economic development authority approved on Tuesday afternoon. The money will help businesses that apply for aid, according to Mayor Trivett

“As an example, for a Hair Cuttery, a salon. If they need bins to keep all their supplies in, to keep it separate as they use it, or if any other business needs more PPE for staff, if they need more cleaning supplies they can apply for part of this fund from the EDA,” Trivett said.

Restaurants like Iron Horse say that they are considering reservations for their patio area at the reopening.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.