People pose near empty restaurants in Downtown Beirut, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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After restrictions on pedestrian access to Nijmeh Square were lifted Jan. 3, hopes ran high that new life would be brought to an area that for years was closer to a ghost town than a city center.Karamna was one of the few businesses in Nijmeh that continued trading after the area was largely closed to pedestrians.Abd al-Wahed recalled the golden years after the restaurant opened in 2002, and admitted that there was probably a long way to go before Nijmeh Square would be anything like it was back then. Several people The Daily Star spoke to agreed that not enough people were even aware that the area had been reopened."We are talking to the other restaurants ... If we all make advertisements on Facebook and social media, people will come back".Although he said he trusts that the upcoming peak-season that starts in late spring will bring an increase in customers, Abd al-Wahed said that if Nijmeh Square is to truly return to the lively center it once was, people first need to believe in the stability of the area.
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