The Farnsworth Art Museum in Downtown Rockland. Credit: Gabor Degre

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Rockland leaders will consider turning their downtown into an open-air market to comply with coronavirus social-distancing restrictions and to give businesses a better chance of surviving the pandemic, according to the Courier Gazette.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

Under a proposal the city council will consider on Monday, a section of Main Street would be closed to all but emergency-vehicle traffic from June 1 through June 30. Businesses in the downtown zone would use sidewalks to display merchandise provided that they practice social distancing. Restaurants would serve food and alcohol on the sidewalk, and a sufficient travel way along Main Street would be maintained to allow for emergency vehicles.

The proposal would allow the city manager to close Main Street, from Park Street to Summer Street. Rockland Main Street Inc. Executive Director David Gogel said he is really in favor of the proposal.

“This would be a great thing for downtown businesses,” Gogel said.

He said the idea is not to attract large crowds but to allow businesses additional space and be able to meet the physical distancing requirement.

Rockland businesses took a heavy blow when organizers of the Maine Lobster Festival of Rockland announced Wednesday the cancellation of the event this year due to coronavirus. The coastal town was among the first handful in the state to declare states of emergency in March. Many downtown businesses have been closed while others have turned to curbside delivery to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Gogel said downtown businesses are looking for additional details concerning Gov. Janet Mills’ plan to reopen businesses, the Courier Gazette reported.

Watch: Janet Mills outlines her plan to reopen

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