SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Downtown area businesses in cities across North and Central PA remember this time last year as a nightmare, with their saving grace being expansion onto the sidewalks to serve customers outdoors.
Things like outdoor dining have become popular but will be more of a mainstay as virus concerns linger.
It’s a different kind of concern that was brought directly to Eyewitness News’ door recently by a gentleman in an electric wheelchair, Scranton resident William Butler.
Butler is aware that local code enforcement requires a minumum 36 inches of space be left for traveling residents on any sidewalk, he says there are places that are putting their bottom dollar in front of the pedestrian needs of the community.
“They have to stand up and take or push their chairs in or whatever like I had to bother them, and I really don’t appreciate that,” Butler said.
Having talked with countless downtown business owners, like Christian Pilosi at Eden-A-Vegan, over the course of the year, they understand they need to share that space out in front of the shops and are generally good stewards in these communities.
“Last year probably got a little touchy. I think places were just, you know, trying to do everything they could, but still leaving a little bit of space, maybe sometimes it wasn’t enough,” said Pilosi.
Eyewitness News has reached out to Scranton Code Enforcement and they say have yet to receive any complaints this season, even telling us this time last year they removed some items from the sidewalk to better assist businesses and pedestrians.
If anyone has complaints, they can call 311 or other regions’ local offices as the best way to clear up any concerns.