A customer receives his take-out order from Four Corners on Franklin Street on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Game day restaurants like this one have seen and will likely continue to see much less traffic than normal due to COVID-19’s impact on dining and sports.

'It's tough': Franklin Street restaurants prepare for uncertain fall sports season

The food and beverage industry has already been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the restaurants and bars that line Franklin Street — which rely heavily on profits coming from foot traffic and fans coming to eat and drink on game days — the uncertainty surrounding the fall sports season brings with it fear.

Franklin Street

Franklin Street sits at the northern edge of campus and it is the most famous stretch of pavement in Chapel Hill. Many of the businesses on Franklin Street cater to students. 

Students often rush Franklin Street after a win against Duke in basketball. Chapel Hill’s Homegrown Halloween event, which at its peak attracted nearly 32,000 college students from across the state, is held on Franklin Street.

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An empty Franklin Street on Monday, May 18, 2020. With the new petition, Franklin Street may see a return of people and life without breaking social distancing orders.

Proposal aims to accommodate social distancing, increase foot traffic on Franklin Street

The executive director for the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership proposed making temporary modifications to the area during the state's phased reopening, such as using the sidewalk for dining, transforming street lanes into pedestrian lanes and designating spots along streets for curbside pickup. A Chapel Hill resident also created a petition with over 500 signatures to transform Franklin Street's two outermost traffic lanes into a protected pedestrian lane.