CORNING, NY (WETM) – Market Street in Corning is closed to all vehicle traffic to help local businesses expand their space to the outdoors.

This decision was made by Corning City Council Monday to increase foot traffic and outdoor dining to restaurants and bars.

“This is the end of a long dark period,” Corning Mayor Bill Boland said. “We have all been through a lot, it’s tried our patients, but now it’s a day for reopening Corning and that’s what this Gaffer District has been all about, reopening Corning. Drawing on the spirit, which has always been Corning for our people who have come out and have some fun, eat some food, visit our bars, visit our retail establishment, and have some fun.”

Parking has been the concern of the public. Coleen Fabrizi, Executive Director of the Gaffer District, says that the Cenerway Parking Garage will be available for free while street parking is blocked off. Fabrizi says that 30 of the 400 plus parking spaces are designated as handicapped, or accessible parking. Corning Community College has also opened its lot downtown contributing an additional 60 parking spots according to Fabrizi.

“You know businesses all over started to lose some hope, but today we gave them hope back, and they are welcoming guests throughout this downtown,” said Fabrizi. “We are open, and we are here to take care of our customers and let them have a wonderful time exploring corning in a socially distance way so that we are not shut down again.”

Jordan Wilson works on Market Street. She was dining outside of one of her favorite local restaurants.

“It’s nice for people to walk Market Street, and to just see everybody outside,” said Wilson. “It feels more normal now than before everything was shut down.”

The street closure is scheduled to last until August 1, 2020.