ALPHARETTA — As many Georgians clamor to return to business-as-usual amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one city has put the brakes on food trucks in an effort to encourage residents to spend their dollars at local restaurants.
The City of Alpharetta has cancelled the 2020 Food Truck Alley series as part of its efforts to encourage patronage of local brick and mortar restaurants and shops in Downtown Alpharetta and throughout the city. The weekly event was established in 2013 when Downtown Alpharetta was home to few restaurants and has continued every Thursday, from mid-May through mid-October ever since.
“The decision to cancel the 2020 Food Truck Alley series was based on our desire to support the local restaurants that have made a significant commitment to our community,” said Recreation, Parks and Cultural Services Director Morgan Rodgers. “The brick and mortar restaurants not only provide employment opportunities to residents, they contribute to the quality of life and fun atmosphere in Downtown and throughout Alpharetta 365 days of the year.”
Based on guidance issued by the CDC and other public health agencies, the Alpharetta officials say they are evaluating other special events scheduled in the near-term and are making decisions as to if they will occur. These decisions depend heavily on whether the event can offer the ability to ensure social distancing and have a variety of safety protocols in place. Events and other gatherings of large groups are going to be a challenge while the recommended guidance is to maintain 6 feet of social distancing and not gather in groups of more than 10 people.
Many of the city’s special events have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19, including the annual Taste of Alpharetta, which brings roughly 50,000 people to Downtown the first Thursday of May. The Brooke Street Park summer concerts have been canceled through July, as well as the beloved 4th of July Fireworks in Wills Park. The weekly Alpharetta Farmer’s Market was scheduled to begin April 14, but will now begin May 16 in a smaller format in the Urban Hardware parking lot rather than downtown.
There are some bright ideas and positive solutions surfacing in the midst of the pandemic. The Alpharetta Rotary Club has converted the annual Memorial Day event to a virtual memorial which will be broadcast on the city’s YouTube channel. The Alpharetta Arts Streetfest will be online and will offer art enthusiasts an opportunity to virtually shop for new art and watch video messages from the artists, themselves. Other organizations are pivoting their plans to meet the public health recommendations, with some walks, races and fundraising galas converting to virtual events.
“Events are a creative endeavor that bring people together to celebrate, and we are proud of the creativity and resourcefulness the special event staff, as well as the community leaders who host events have displayed in this challenging time,” Rodgers said. “As we plan to bring people together in the future, our top priority is the safety of our community and the city staff who work at the events.”