Wayne's Picnic Grove helping retailers, restaurants during pandemic

RADNOR TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Officials in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania have come up with a unique way for businesses to make money, and for customers to be socially-distant at the same time.

Wayne's Picnic Grove, set up in a parking lot on North Wayne Avenue, has the feel of a street festival, but in reality, they are playing by all the antivirus rules set out by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

"It's been really, really fun and energized in the town and brought a lot of business to the local community," said Ken Kearns, owner of 118 North restaurant.

The large tent is meant to accommodate 200 people, but they're limiting it to less than 100 people, and tables are spaced six feet or more apart with hand sanitizer at every one.

"A professional cleaning company was hired with extra equipment to help clean and sanitize and disinfect the area," said Radnor Township Police Superintendent Chris Flanagan.

Kearns stumbled onto an idea - for bands to play music from the windows of his restaurant across from the tent to entertain people outside.

"We kind of turned our bar inside out and kind of faced out into the street. Our waitresses are out here. I think it's been a very interesting day-by-day evolution of the program," said Kearns.

For Christine and Nick Hondra, the owners of Cornerstone Bistro & Artisanal Market, who faced a devastating flood two years ago and then the forced shut down due to the pandemic, the Picnic Grove has been a godsend.

"It's been wonderful to have outdoor dining. People are doing anything for outdoor dining. We're lucky our guests are coming from all over," said Christine.

"It has been so great for Wayne. We just want to see small businesses recover. It has been so difficult for many of our businesses," said Deanna Doane with the Wayne Business Association.

"I think it's so important to set something up like this to help those restaurants get back on their feet," said Claire Mahoney of Wayne.

For the time being, parking is free.

The tent is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, at least through mid-July, with options to go beyond that.
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