Pedestrians meander up a wide open Exchange Street in Portland on Aug. 14. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Portland will allow downtown businesses that began outdoor service to survive the pandemic to continue it until Jan. 4.

The Portland City Council approved a plan on Monday to work with restaurants and retailers to continue operating on public sidewalks and in city parking lanes even as the city starts reopening streets closed by the service on Nov. 1, officials said.

Small stretches of Dana, Exchange, Milk and Wharf streets were closed for outdoor operations on June 1 to allow businesses to practice social distancing.

The businesses must apply to extend their outdoor permits and place barriers around their outdoor spaces to protect them against snow plows. Portland will provide concrete road blocks to businesses that need them, officials said.

Exchange Street will be the first to reopen, officials said.

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