Long Beach will close Pine Avenue between First and Third streets next Friday in an effort to help restaurants who are struggling with a health order that bans indoor dining.

The stretch of Pine Avenue will be closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the foreseeable future starting at noon on Aug. 14, according to a Friday evening press release from the Downtown Long Beach Alliance.

“The closure to vehicular traffic will enable residents and visitors to enjoy safe outdoor dining, personal care services, and fitness activities at many of Pine Avenue’s beloved establishments,” the release said.

Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement that he hopes the closure will provide some relief from the economic impacts of the pandemic. Since mid-March, businesses including retail, personal care and dining have endured on-again, off-again closures as cases of coronavirus have stabilized, then risen.

Currently restaurants may serve customers outdoors only, or by take-out and delivery.

Kraig Kojian, president and CEO of the downtown association, said in a statement: “Now more than ever, we need to come together as a community to support our local establishments.”

To accommodate through traffic, Broadway and 3rd Street will remain open, with westbound 1st Street partially open to allow for parking garage access. Various traffic safety devices will be installed along the corridor, including a combination of bollards and k-rails for maximum pedestrian safety and to facilitate emergency vehicle access.

Designated delivery zones will be established for businesses along the corridor, and temporary spaces will be created for restaurant take-out and retail curbside service, officials said. These locations will be provided by Monday.

Businesses seeking additional information and assistance may contact DLBA Communications Manager Samantha Mehlinger at [email protected] or DLBA Placemaking Manager Mariah Hoffman at [email protected].