In this June 1, 2020, file photo, Milk Street in Portland's Old Port is closed to traffic to give restaurants more space to seat patrons outdoors. Credit: Nick Schroeder / BDN

A handful of streets in downtown Portland are closing to traffic to allow for outdoor dining.

These are similar to the closures that took effect last year, but the city has made adjustments as it looks to help small businesses during the pandemic.

Middle Street will move to one-way traffic again, similar to how it was last year. There are changes, including on Fore Street, where the southeast side of Boothbay Square between Pearl and Silver will be closed. That’s new and was made in response to businesses’ requests.

Streets that are temporarily closed to traffic will have one “soft” closure so delivery vehicles can get through at certain hours and one “hard” closure, marked off by large concrete barricades or planters.

Jessica Grondin, a city spokesperson, said the changes reflect feedback from businesses and keep in mind things like public safety and deliveries in addition to pedestrian traffic for dining and retail.

“I think that was just us looking at where else could we offer it knowing Exchange [Street] was not going to be a part of it this year. That was part of the feedback we received, and we’re excited to try it,” Grondin said.

Grondin said so far 57 businesses have applied to participate in the program this year and more are expected.