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Parking hard to find in downtown Savannah as business picks up again

Savannah, Ga.
Savannah, Ga.(WTOC)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - As COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions begin to ease in the U.S., Savannah is seeing more crowds.

Tourists are coming to the Hostess City with beautiful weather expected this weekend.

Hundreds of people are out and about, enjoying the warm weather and everything downtown has to offer, including the shopping and the food.

The owner of Namaste on Broughton says the crowds they’ve been seeing the past months, this is what they love to see.

Especially after the past year, where they had to limit the restaurant’s capacity and some people chose to eat at home due to the pandemic.

One thing, the owner says, has helped business is the outdoor dining area, which businesses could apply for back in May of last year. When you drive around downtown, there are a few restaurants who’ve turned parking spots or the sidewalk into a dining area.

Namaste’s owner says he’s happy he applied for an outdoor dining permit last year. He says Many customers actually prefer eating outdoors.

“Gives more cantor for people. You just don’t have to go indoors. It’s also some kind of marketing when people pass by and see what kind of food they’re eating. That’s really good,” said Sandeep Tamrakar, Namaste co-owner.

Sandeep is one of a few restaurant owners I spoke to who really enjoy this outdoor dining area and hope it stays.

We spoke to Savannah’s parking services, who says in a few months, they will be looking at possibly making outdoor dining permanent or semi-permanent, and if that happens, there will be more of a structured guideline for restaurants.

Today, and the past six weeks, parking is hard to come by.

The data proves it. Savannah’s Mobility and Parking Services director is comparing the number of cars in city operated parking spots to what they see on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. He says not as high, but pretty close!

Pack your patience if you head to downtown Savannah.

“I did have to go around,” said Ella Claxton who was running errands.

Street parking is hard to find these days. Some, even risking money to get a good spot.

“Today was a little easy because I found 30-minute spot, but I’m going to be here for another hour so I might get a ticket. I mean, there’s no parking anywhere else,” said Siran Watt who works downtown.

Others choose to prevent that street parking stress by choosing garage parking.

“We weren’t able to find any parallel parking, but we found a garage and went right in.”

But even garage parking can be hard to find.

Savannah’s mobility and parking director says garages are now operating at 90 percent full, compare that to 20 percent this time last year.

So pack some luck too.

“We got lucky! Someone was walking up on the third story and they’re like ‘Hey! We’re leaving,’” said Josh Everett who is visiting from Alabama.

And if worse comes to worst, take a few parking tips from this local.

“Second floor on State Street garage, little secret, that’s usually open.”

Due to the high number of cars parking in downtown, the city’s parking services employees are working overtime on the streets to monitor parking.

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