First Fridays will return June 5 to downtown Brunswick for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak forced many participating businesses to shutter their doors.

Mathew Hill, director of the city’s downtown development authority, said many businesses that have participated in past First Fridays will open their doors — with some changes designed to protect merchants, staff and the public.

Hill said Newcastle Street will be closed to traffic for the event, which will enable restaurants and merchants to set up tables outside where vehicles are normally parked. It will also make it easier for people to social distance while supporting their downtown businesses.

Hand sanitizing stations and additional portable restrooms will be set up for public use during the event. Hill said he plans to contact officials at Southeast Georgia Health System to see if they are able to help with the sanitizing stations.

The changes are designed to safely attract the public to the monthly event that has typically drawn growing crowds during the past year.

“All these rules are hard on everybody, especially the small restaurants,” he said. “Hopefully, people will asocial distance.”

The intent is to get people downtown to support merchants who have been struggling the past two months because of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and other health concerns.

“I think we will have a turnout,” Hill said. “I’m not sure if it will be as large as usual. We don’t know what to expect.”

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