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Social Distance Social offers a way to safely enjoy downtown Gainesville
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Downtown Gainesville invites people to safely enjoy local shops and restaurants outside during its Social Distance Social from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 18. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Socializing can be done at a distance.  

Gainesville downtown businesses are expanding their offerings outdoors during the first Social Distance Social. 

From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 18, two sides of the square — including Bradford Street and Main Street — will be closed for restaurants to extend seating into the square and streets. Retailers will also bring their sales to the sidewalk for people to shop in the open air.  

Social Distance Social 

What: Outdoor event to promote social distancing and local businesses 

When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 18 

Where: Downtown Gainesville 

More info: gainesville@mainstreet.org  

Nicole Ricketts, Gainesville Main Street Manager, said the event is a way to reintroduce downtown businesses to the community with an added layer of safety. She invites people to spend their Saturday taking advantage of the sidewalk sales and grabbing a bite to eat outside, while music plays over speakers in the square. 

“A good chunk of the community still hasn’t been able to get out,” she said. “That first step is going to be difficult, but we want to make it as easy as possible.” 

Ricketts assures people that the outdoor seating will be spaced out by at least six feet. 

“This is not a festival, we didn’t want it to be big,” she said. “It’s really just for people to feel like they can come downtown.” 

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Downtown Gainesville is reintroducing its local shops and restaurants to the public with a Social Distance Social from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 18. - photo by Kelsey Podo
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