Visitors to Park Avenue in Winter Park, Fla., dine al fresco on the street as restaurants and shops opened in the popular dining district, with Phase One restrictions in place in response to the coronavirus crisis on Saturday, May 9, 2020. Current restrictions for restaurants for most of Florida include socially distanced outdoor dining and 25 percent maximum capacity for indoor dining.Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Evidence is mounting that outdoor activities are far safer than indoor exposure for limiting the coronavirus' spread.
And as temperatures rise in conjunction with loosening shelter-in-place restrictions, some cities are beginning to rethink how they can use ample street space to serve more than just cars.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials, or NACTO, has released 12 visions for how curb, street, and sidewalk space can be utilized to encourage exercise, dining, transportation, and more, all while maintaining a healthy distance between people to reduce the risk of transmission.
"As restrictions are lifted, especially prior to full disease containment or the development of a vaccine, streets can provide room for restaurants and shops to serve customers outdoors, and for schools and daycares to resume care, allowing businesses to reopen and more people to return, safely, to work," the organization said.
Their ideas come as cities from Bogota to Seattle, Oakland, Minneapolis and more begin to close sections of streets to car traffic, and others like New York City, paint circles on park grass to clearly delineate necessary spacing.
"This virus really likes people being indoors in an enclosed space for prolonged periods of close face-to-face contact," William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, told Business Insider. Still, it's people congregating in groups where risk is highest, he said, hence the need for access to services in neighborhoods where people live, helping them avoid bottlenecks like transit where exposure could occur.
Here are 12 ways streets can be used to minimize spread, while maximizing exercise, transportation, dining, and more: