VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – People in Vermillion now have another option when it comes to eating at restaurants. It’s all part of an effort to make sure customers feel safe while dining out.
Leslie Gerrish is a co-owner of The Bean in downtown Vermillion.
She now has another option for her customer’s thanks to a partnership between the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company, the city, and local downtown businesses.
Barriers were installed outside businesses to create an open air dining space.
“We’ve definitely sold more, our business has been more successful because of it, and we certainly have had people use it throughout the day, sometimes you’ll come and every seat will be taken, spread out and socially distanced,” co-owner The Bean, Leslie Gerrish said.
“What’s great about Vermillion is we are a progressive community and with the current pandemic, the business community came together and said how do we take the barrier of the concern over indoor food options, what options can we do to bring it outside,” Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company board chair, Scott Pohlson said.
The barriers block off a few parking spaces and allow business owners to set up seating and other dining options outside.
“Getting people downtown and feeling comfortable is so important, so the businesses were fine with giving up a couple of parking spaces in exchange for creating that space and safety for our community because the last thing we want is the greater spread of COVID in our community,” Mayor of Vermillion, Kelsey Collier-Wise said.
The barriers were installed last week. Since then the city has received positive feedback.
“People have talked about how great it’s been to be able to have coffee with somebody, that’s just something we haven’t been able to do, and you can do it now and have that social distance and support a business that you love,” Collier-Wise said.
“We have to deal with a little more South Dakota wind, which has been an adventure, but people have been grateful for us trying to be creative during this time,” Gerrish said.
Restaurants will be able to serve food and alcohol in the designated outside spaces until August 25.