We received the following press release from the City of Lowell.
Lowell, Michigan, Feb. 17, 2021 – Lowell is inviting West Michigan to bundle up and get social on Friday, Feb. 19 as the City opens the Showboat City Social District.
Named for its iconic showboat, Lowell launched the new social district in an effort to support downtown restaurants, who have been struggling with state-mandated closures and other restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The social district, which was approved by the Lowell City Council on Jan. 19, will enable residents and visitors to order and safely enjoy food and beverages outdoors in an area covering five blocks in Lowell’s historic downtown.
The area extends on Main Street from the Hudson Street intersection to the Washington Street intersection and along the Riverwalk, which will feature three open-air, wood-fired warming areas. Alcohol, beer and wine may be purchased by adults over the age of 21 from one of the six restaurants eligible to participate.
The social district is clearly marked with signage designating boundaries for adults with open containers. Alcoholic beverages may not be purchased in one licensed establishment and consumed in another, although they may be enjoyed anywhere outdoors in the Showboat City Social District.
“The idea for the social district came from one of our merchants, who approached me after the governor extended the shutdown of restaurants and bars to say, ‘what can we do to help them out?’” said City Manager Mike Burns. “We had seen the new state law permitting these types of districts, so we brought it to the City Council for consideration – and the support was unanimous.
“Our new social district will provide a way to gather safely outdoors, enjoy some of the great hospitality Lowell has to offer and support our local restaurants, bars and merchants.”
The social district will be open weekdays 4-10 p.m., Saturday 12-10 p.m. and Sunday 12-8 p.m. While masks are not required outdoors, visitors are reminded to observe CDC guidelines for physical distancing. Hand sanitizer and portable bathrooms will be available.
Burns said the intention is to provide a fun, safe and welcoming environment so everyone can get outside despite the winter weather. Dedicated members of the Lowell Police Department will be on patrol during peak hours.
“I don’t foresee the social district going away any time soon, even during the summer,” Burns said. “We expect this may be a very popular offering year-round and look forward to welcoming Lowell residents and visitors to the Showboat City Social District.”
A map of the district can be found on the City of Lowell website.