To survive the winter, Minnesota restaurants are investing in extending patio dining season
The hospitality industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus; mainly the lockdown restrictions. The fact that a lot of service places are open is mainly a testament to the creativity that businesses have expressed in responding to government restrictions. Let us look at restaurants for instance. They were among the first establishments to be asked to close in-person service. And in order to survive that change, a lot of them made sure they adapted their services to fit take out or delivery. For some, this even changing their menus and service offerings.
Restaurants have no choice but to still continue to be creative
Despite all this creativity, we can still see that restaurants lost a lot of business and a lot of money. The capacity limits that have been imposed on restaurants have made operations difficult for them. Unlucky for restaurants, however, winter is coming. And the Minnesota government seems to be in no hurry to loosen current capacity limits so that restaurants can fill more people inside. Instead, it is up to restaurants to get creative all over again on how they are going to survive this winter.
For some restaurants with enough cash to spare. This will probably not be a problem, As reported by the Pioneer Press, a majority of restaurants are already planning on extending their patio season. And to do this, they have invested in numerous heating appliances that will help keep the heat alive outside. According to the Pioneer Press, cities have also had a hand in helping restaurants expand patio season. For instance, St. Paul has extended its ordinance that allows restaurants and businesses to operate in public spaces like parking lots, streets, and sidewalks.
And in response to these orders, establishments like Hope Breakfast Bar, in St. Paul have added fire pits and fire heaters to keep restaurants warm. In addition, the place has blankets that it sells to customers on demand. And they are not the only ones taking strong measures to keep winter at bay. In Still water as well, where the city extended patio, several restaurants are also using heaters on their patio.
Some restaurants are not stopping at heated patios or fire pits. They have invested in inflatable igloos and greenhouse structures that will be used for outside dining during the wintertime.
Source: Pioneer Press
This is costly
It might be true that some restaurants are taking part in these efforts because they perceive some of their customers would not feel safe enough for indoor dining anytime soon. However, the fact remains that the state is backing the whole industry into a corner and forcing restaurants to make costly investments in heating systems just to stay in business. And not every restaurant can afford extra expenses from heating systems. And for those, limited capacity limits would mean closing for the winter.
It would be one thing if restaurants decided to close on their own because they anticipate winter to reduce their clientele so much that business would be unprofitable. But that is not what is happening here. Government action is making businesses extra costly at a time when it should be focused on ensuring their recovery.