VICTORIA -- The City of Victoria has officially closed one block of Government Street to traffic to assist local businesses and improve pedestrian accessibility amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The road closure is located on Government Street between Fort Street and View Street and restricts all vehicles, except emergency and delivery vehicles.

Meanwhile, traffic has been dropped down to a single lane between Humboldt Street and Fort Street.

The city approved the street closure last week, alongside a number of other infrastructure changes to support businesses, restaurants and pedestrians in the city’s downtown core.

Other changes include converting a portion of the city’s on-street parking into patio spaces or expanded sidewalk areas and creating new parking zones for food trucks and other mobile food vendors.

The city says that it will also add more accessibility parking and drop-off zones along Fort Street between Government Street and Douglas Street.

All of the new measures are in effect as of Monday, June 8. Moving forward, the city says that it will monitor for any negative impacts to pedestrian and vehicle accessibility, short-term parking and city revenue.

“We are unleashing the creativity of our community to build back by opening up space for businesses to expand while meeting social distancing requirements,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a statement Friday.

“These sweeping new programs are informed by what we have heard from businesses, artists and community groups for what’s needed for recovery right now.”