While some Downtown New Bern restaurants and shops have opted to shut down temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most are still open for business with adjusted hours and a more limited menu to keep it simple for customers.
DSwiss Bear, Inc. is supplementing the shutdown of downtown restaurant dining rooms and bars.
The organization’s website has been transformed into a gift card purchasing directory and most establishments have created curbside and delivery options for customers.
Downtown business owners jumped into action before the call from Governor Cooper was made Tuesday to shut down dining rooms by holding an emergency downtown meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
They began a gift card initiative and discussed options for takeout, including what to do about parking in the event dining in restaurants was temporarily halted.
Swiss Bear Executive Director Lynne Harakal said, “Our downtown community made these preparations in advance to help sustain the downtown business community. Many businesses are still recovering behind the scenes from Hurricane Florence and that is why it is so important to continue buying local.”
The City of New Bern staff worked on Wednesday evening to provide allotted parking spaces for curbside pickup for each business providing the option.
Ward 1 Alderman and local businessowner Sabrina Bengel said, “I’m proud of how quickly our team responded and got this in motion. We will continue to work together and do whatever we can to help our community through this situation.”
Businesses have been grouped together by location and have been given 1-3 spaces for their curbside service. Downtown parking enforcement will continue normal operations, but the spaces for curbside service will be reserved for the foreseeable future.
Swiss Bear is emphasizing that the community is still able to support downtown businesses even if they don’t feel comfortable going out in public by using the gift card program.
Customers can also continue to help their favorite local businesses by shopping online, tipping well, and sharing their posts on social media.