Restaurants prep outdoor dining as rainy season nears

Coronavirus

Restaurants still rely on outdoor diners to survive

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Restaurants in the Portland metro enjoyed a dry summer as customers began to return to dining indoors and out.

But with a major rainstorm heading toward Oregon, eateries have to come up with ways to provide protection for outdoor diners, since that extra seating is critical to their survival.

Indoor seating remains limited due to COVID spacing. Many diners also prefer to sit outside and that’s helping to keep the restaurants open and providing jobs.

Restaurant owners who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they’re working on ways to put up tents, umbrellas or some type of structure above or around outdoor diners. But there are no easy solutions and it’s still hard to get supplies like plexiglass.

“We’re getting used to thinking as we go,” said Ed Casey, the co-owner of Cheryl’s on 12th. “But right now the plan is to enclosed these partitions that we built earlier in the year so there is some exterior seating that has wind blockage and keeps the rain out.”

And they worry that if COVID spikes or there are new variants that begin to run rampant, even outdoor dining could face further restrictions.

Take-out business is still a big part of restaurant operations. The further question is whether customers will once again be willing to sit outside in rainy weather as they did for much of the past year.

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