Let us start by saying, “We miss you!” And by “you,” we mean everyone who makes Downtown Waco what it is, the shoppers and strollers and merchants and employees and residents alike. We hope everyone has been well.
Some of our downtown businesses have stayed busy during this time, doing take-out food orders. And on Friday, May 1, more businesses will be reopening per Gov. Abbott’s order. Union Hall plans to open for modified dine in (per the state order) as does Milo All Day and the Waco Hippodrome plans to restart movies. Christi’s Shop will also reopen Friday. More merchants plan to follow suit on Monday including The Findery and Lighthouse Coffee.
And all of these decisions are ok. We’ve learned over the last month that everyone has a different comfort level with the COVID-19 pandemic and there is nothing wrong with that. We know this interruption in business has been hard on our merchants and we want them to do what’s right for them.
We know those varying levels of comfort apply to downtown patrons and visitors as well. Some of you are itching to re-engage with the rest of the world and may happily take that opportunity by having a First Friday dinner downtown tomorrow. And many people we know are going to hang back and continue take out, Netflix binges and tending their sourdough starter for a little longer. And that’s fine too.
McLennan County’s shelter-in-place order expired April 30 but the disaster declaration is still in place and the City of Waco and the County are both still encouraging residents to stay at home except to tend to essential business and activities and to patronize essential businesses and reopened businesses. And residents who do venture out are also encouraged to wear face coverings and continue to maintain a social distance from others.
We look forward to seeing more people enjoying downtown, whether it’s this Friday or a month from now. We’ll be here. We want our supporters and merchants to be healthy, safe and comfortable with re-engaging. We encourage you to keep up with your favorite downtown businesses on social media or through other means so you will hear their individual plans for reopening as the state’s order continues to roll out.
In the meantime, scoot over to the Downtown Waco Facebook page or @wacodowntown on Instagram on Friday to enter a fun giveaway. And we’ll continue to use those platforms to let you know how you can still enjoy Downtown Waco businesses, in person and online. Also, check in with @firstfridaywaco on Instagram for all sorts of deals from downtown spots and beyond!