NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Elm City kicked off the start to 'Summer Saturdays' this weekend. The new promotion, is aimed at supporting downtown businesses.
More than 40 businesses are participating in the event which takes place for three Saturdays in July.
From noon to 4 p.m. restaurants are offering $20 lunch specials, while retail and other businesses are offering 20% off discounts.
Months after the start of the pandemic, the downtown area is starting to be lively once again.
"It's very nice to see long time customers, they are healthy, they are walking around, saying hi, it's nice to see. It's life a little bit," said Nebyat Sheway, Co-Owner of B-Natural Kitchen.
"We're excited! We're welcoming the New Haven community to come back out and emerge from their quarantines and such," said Raasikh Muhammad of Anchor Spa.
Figuring out a new normal, making adjustments, the past few months haven't been easy for small businesses.
"We've had to be chameleons and kind of stretch ourselves in many different directions that we're not really accustomed to, or that we weren't really originally set up to do," said Muhammad.
That's why support from the community has been, and continue to be monumental.
"Shop local is more important than it ever has been because absolutely there won't be the influx of people coming into downtown so we are really counting on our loyal customers and the patronage of our local community," said Kimberly Pedrick, owner of the store, idiom.
To encourage people to come out during 'Summer Saturdays,' there is also a discount on parking, and live entertainment in the downtown area.
With safety still a priority, masks and social distancing are required.
"We want customers to be safe, the first thing that's the one," said Sheway.
The downtown businesses say they are looking forward to the summer, and are thankful of the teamwork with the city to encourage people to come support them.
"It's very important for the community to come together and all of the businesses throughout New Haven to really band together andget through this time period," said Pedrick.
"Come hangout! We're here all day all night. New Haven is back," said Muhammad.
'Summer Saturdays' will take place for the next two weeks, July 18 and July 25.