Restaurants get creative to keep outdoor seating open during the winter

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Restaurants locally and across the nation have adapted to outdoor seating this year, but the cold weather brings up the challenge of keeping these outdoor seats open.

Mother’s Brewing Company owner Jeff Schrag said his brewery offers people some flexibility for the upcoming winter.

“We were able to reconfigure part of our warehouse to allow for some socially distanced, indoor consumption of alcohol,” said Schrag. “We’re able to keep the backs of the chairs more than six feet apart, to keep wide lanes. And to allow people when it’s cold weather to be inside.”

Fire pits will be available for people to sit around an open flame at the brewery. The owner said the changes were made with the customers in mind.

“If it’s not resonating to the public, then they’re not gonna come and frequent your establishment,” said Schrag. “So what you have to do is simple things that people can remember and can trust that you communicate to them and hear the things that we are doing is going to matter.”

Team Taco on Cherry Street is installing heaters outside since its building capacity is small and only allows customers to grab take-out and eat outside.

“We only put out limited seating,” said Doug Riddle, co-owner of Team Taco. “That kind of limits people being able to have that interaction that may or may not be uncomfortable for folks.”

Riddle said the capacity outside with the heaters is 18 people.

“The heating element is nice, especially if you’re just waiting for food,” said Riddle. “We can call out to go very easily, and they can go about their business while still being kind of comfortable in the cold weather.”

The Springfield-Greene County Health director Clay Goddard said he is more concerned about people getting sick at casual gatherings.

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