REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Rehoboth Beach officials have approved a new parking promotion known as Meterless Monday’s.
They’re hoping it draws people downtown during a time when many stores and restaurants aren’t getting their regular summer business. “Some businesses are down 50 percent. Some businesses are thriving but it’s very few,” says Scott Wealand, the manager of Port 251.
The summer season is usually prime time for locally owned restaurants and shops in Rehoboth Beach but many say they aren’t seeing the same crowds this year. So officials have implemented a new initiative known as Meterless Monday’s. “I think it’s a great thing. I think it will encourage people to come back downtown. I think we’ve had a loss with that with COVID,” says Wealand.
Starting on Monday, July 27th, downtown parking is free every Monday through August 31st from 4 PM to 10 PM.
“As a business owner I think having free parking any day of the week is a great thing so I applaud Rehoboth for doing that for businesses,” says Hope Orhelein with the Beach Life Gallery.
Many businesses are thankful for the change but they also say the limited hours may not allow the promotion to benefit everyone. “I think that’s prime business time for restaurants. Unfortunately that doesn’t really help the local shops. I think they should extend it to all day. I feel like if you’re going to do it, do it all day so it benefits all the shops and not just the restaurants. I feel the 4 to 10 is going to benefit restaurants more,” says Wealand.
But they’re hopeful that the change may attract locals to the area during the week. “We’re actually new to the area so it’d be great to get some new people to see where we are. We opened up just a month ago so it’s be great to have some foot traffic that would be here year round,” says Orhelein.
“It’s critical that we continue to do everything we can to support our small and locally-owned businesses as they work to reopen safely. These free parking initiatives are a small but important part of our larger effort to keep Rehoboth Beach healthy and strong throughout this unprecedented time,” says Mayor Paul Kuhns.