July 22, 2020

Salem COVID-19 Outdoor Dining and Retail Task Force

by Felicia Cheney

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As an offshoot of the EDRR task force, Creative Collective was hired as a consultant by the City of Salem to facilitate the Outdoor Dining and Retail Program as a direct response to the challenges these businesses are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Collective was tasked to create a streamlined, transparent, and organized program to create outdoor dining options for over 60 restaurants scattered throughout all of Salem.

Stage 1: Working in partnership with every major city department and acting as ombudsman to the restaurants, the first phase of this project was to create a survey and find out what options the local restaurants wanted to take advantage of and how the pandemic was affecting them. These results formulated the plan to get outdoor dining options set up as fast as possible allowing restaurants to create revenue.

On day one of Phase 2 of Governer Bakers re-opening strategy for the state of Massachusetts, plans and approvals were already in place for almost ten restaurants. They were able to open outdoor patios and serve customers immediately. Over the course of the next 8 weeks, the Collective worked directly with city services and the restaurants to create accessible, safe, and vibrant outdoor dining areas putting critical revenue into many businesses that may have otherwise collapsed.

Stage 2: Creative Collective utilized its extensive connections to the creative community to beautify and build out these new outdoor dining options. The city commissioned over a dozen artisans and Creative Collective used it’s superior marketing skills to highlight all of this work. From woodworkers to public artists and muralists, over 60 jersey barriers were transformed into functioning works of art throughout the city.

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