Saturday street closures for ‘Chill on Mill’
The Creemore Business Improvement Area (BIA) is piloting a program to close the main street to motorized vehicles on Saturdays only to encourage local shopping and dining in a safe and distanced manner.
Dubbed Chill on Mill, the program will see Mill Street, from Elizabeth Street to the Village Green, closed to vehicles Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning July 10, to create a pedestrian and bike friendly zone. During that time, patrons may see businesses using the sidewalk space in front of their locations to display merchandise and provide additional seating.
“We are excited to be hosting Chill on Mill in Creemore every Saturday this July,” said BIA member Linda DeWinter, Chair of the Chill on Mill Committee and owner of the Creemore 100 Mile Store. “We’re creating a safer and physically distanced downtown so the public can support the incredible and truly resilient businesses who are happy to welcome the community and visitors back. Chill on Mill Creemore will be happening every Saturday throughout July for the public to check out our one-of-a-kind shops and enjoy a meal or a drink on a patio. We can’t wait to see you downtown.”
The initiative is part of an effort to make for a safe and enjoyable shopping and dining experience as the province advances through the steps of its Roadmap to Reopen plan. In Step 2 of the plan capacity at non-essential stores remains at 25 per cent, and 50 per cent at essential businesses. The BIA has been looking for ways to mitigate congestion and allow people space while waiting in line at businesses, including the addition of Muskoka chairs painted in the lavender theme that have been placed around town.
For those who may need assistance getting heavier items to their vehicles parked on side streets or at Station on the Green, the BIA has opted to purchase two wagons that will be made available to stores and restaurants. Pick-up zones will be established at each end of the barricaded portion of the road where customers can use the wagons to load heavy or bulky items.
“We are asking our local residents to support this initiative and be patient with the inconveniences posed with extra parking on the side streets. We are striving for a safer and more pedestrian friendly Mill Street,” said BIA president Laurie Severn. “We truly hope that this pilot project is welcoming to our local residents who have been uncomfortable walking on Mill Street due to the increased traffic on sidewalks. Families can now ride their bikes, scooters or just stroll on Mill on Saturdays and enjoy all that downtown Creemore has to offer.”
COVID-19 protocols will remain in place with hand sanitizing opportunities in every business in addition to signage with reminders of the recommended health and safety measures that the public are asked to follow, including physical distancing, washing hands often and wearing masks. Public washroom are available on weekends at the Staton on the Green and follow a rigorous schedule of cleaning and sanitization.
Photo: A newly expanded patio at Chez Michel on Creemore’s main street spills over the sidewalk and includes a pedestrian detour.