A downtown Palm Springs restaurant owner is speaking out, saying the new Palm Canyon Drive closure is hurting his business.
David Mariner, owner of The Village (previously known as Village Pub), took to Facebook Live earlier this week furious at the new two-block closure, which stretches from Tahquitz Canyon Way to Baristo Rd.
As of Friday night, his video had garnered more than 30,000 views.
"Why are we closing the street when no one's even utilizing it," Mariner said in the recording.
The closure is meant to help restaurants by adding extra tables with room for social distancing. But Mariner said in addition to cutting people off from coming downtown, restaurants who have been approved for street dining permits aren't taking enough advantage to attract people.
"Especially on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, there's no traffic and only a few businesses are open on those particular days," he said. "That's was what i was seeing and it was really frustrating."
Mariner said only a handful of businesses have been approved to expand their outdoor seating areas into the street, even though they all applied at the same time two weeks ago.
On top of that, he said the closure could actually be deterring tourists because of how it looks.
"It looks like a construction zone," Mariner said. "It looks really closed, like there was nothing going on. No life, no energy."
Mariner said his business is down 70 percent from before the pandemic, and the closure is contributing. HE said The Village can only survive a few more months.
"Doing this is going to accelerate even more businesses closing, and I guess that was my point," he said. "It's heartbreaking to see this happen."
City leaders said the closure is just a trial run, and they will re-evaluate in the coming weeks whether it's working and if any adjustments need to be made.