Winter Park blocking Park Avenue for added restaurant seating on Mother's Day

Next weekend, the City of Winter Park will close down Park Avenue so that restaurants may add seating in the street.

The owners of Orchid Thai Cuisine are bringing the flowers back out and preparing for customers to return after weeks of takeout and delivery only.

“Suffering,” owner Sue Manatad said about the restrictions. “At the beginning it was very tough.”  

But starting Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis is allowing restaurants to open dining rooms again.

“We want everybody to feel comfortable to come and eat and enjoy our cuisine here,” Manatad said.

Indoor capacity will be capped at 25 percent. Tables outside have to be six feet apart. The city of Winter Park says it wants to help out with some extra outdoor real estate.

“Because on Park Avenue we have the ability to close the street then we are able to still comply with the executive order and allow our restaurants to have more outdoor seating in support of this Mother’s Day weekend celebration,” said Clarissa Howard, a spokesperson for the city.

Park Avenue will be blocked off starting Friday to Sunday.

“As you are outside, we will have city staff that are also reminding the attendees to keep the social distance of six feet between each other,” Howard said.

“I’m glad the city is trying to do something. That’s wonderful that they’re thinking about us. I’m not sure…it might be too soon,” said Matthew Coltrin who owns The Parkview.

Coltrin says planning to reopen slowly – as he tries to gauge business.

“It really comes down to how the community feels – when they’re ready to come back,” Coltrin said.

Some community members have been pushing for Park Avenue to close.  More than 1,300 people signed a petition on to close Park Ave. and help the restaurants.