DARLINGTON, S.C. — The city of Darlington on Wednesday blocked off several parking spots on the Public Square for “To-Go Parking Only” to assist the nearby restaurants.

The city posted signs and cones marking three parking spaces on the south side and three on the west side of the square nearest the restaurants for “To-Go Parking Only.”

“Most restaurants have a dedicated parking lot, so this is not an issue. Around the square, that’s not the case,” said Lisa Rock, economic development and planning director for the city. “We would hate to see these businesses struggle any more than they likely already will given the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Since Gov. Henry McMaster made the executive order that suspends all dine-in options for restaurants, these businesses are looking for other ways to stay afloat during this difficult season.

Some are closing until the order is lifted, like South of Pearl. Most restaurants in Darlington are taking call-in orders, and some are offering curbside service, such as Taki’s Diner and Joe’s Grill.

Many, such as Nick’s BBQ and the various fast-food chains, have drive-thru windows that will ease the temporary situation. Mamma Mia’s Italian Kitchen will start delivery service next week.

In discussions with the downtown businesses, Fahrenheit 225 and Jewel’s Deluxe Restaurant had an idea to help — make sure there are parking spots available specifically for take-away service.

“The business owners needed some help, and this was an easy fix, to mandate a few spots for take-out,” Rock said. “I appreciate the city manager and city council’s support of this plan and thank the Darlington Police Department for enforcing it.”

These reserved spaces will remain in place until the executive order has been lifted.

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