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First, deal with the virus

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020

* The Daily Herald highlights what some suburban restaurants are doing now that cold weather is approaching

Outdoor dining has been a savior for restaurants hurt by the pandemic. It resumed before indoor dining was allowed. Months later, diners still prefer it as a safer option.

That’s inspired restaurant owners to get creative to keep patrons at outdoor tables for as long as the weather allows. […]

Blankets are also on sale at Spears, a Wheeling bar that specializes in bourbon, burgers and beer. About 80 percent of the customers there have opted for outdoor seating, so owner and manager Ashley Hembree began looking at how she could continue that into fall. […]

Nick Drivas has seen that same commitment to outdoor dining at Grill House in Northbrook. He estimated only about 10 percent of his customers opt to eat inside.

Despite what you may read on social media or hear on talk radio or see on local TV, the vast majority of people are concerned about catching the virus. Smart business owners understand this.

That being said, I don’t know what’s going to happen when the cold weather really hits. All the blankets and space heaters in the world aren’t going to do much good when it’s below freezing and windy. Back to carry-out, I suppose.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - northernwatersports - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:05 am:

    I prefer to eat outdoors, given the option. I recently suggested to the owner of a local micro brewery, that they could purchase umbrella type propane heaters for their outdoor seating area, and thereby allow consumers to opt for an outdoor beer garden, even in winter months. I haven’t seen the owner in a few weeks, but time will tell if a broad base of restaurant owners will take on the challenge of appealing to the 90% of restaurant consumers who prefer the science (and safety of outdoor dining) and not the ambiance of some fancy themed decor for their dining. I for one will have that beer, even in the snow, if it means I stay clear of the virus until a truly safe vaccine is available.

  2. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:11 am:

    Meanwhile, the anti-mask crowd in plainfield is starting to physically attack people when denied service for not wearing a mask.

  3. - SSL - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:12 am:

    I am unlikely to go back into a restaurant until we have a vaccine. I am noticing an increase in the “return to normal” activities though. Metra advertising their safety steps. Companies are starting to bring people back into the office. The relative flatness in ICU patients, those on ventilators and fatalities is providing some with a sense that the worst is over and masks can protect them. I’m glad I don’t need to deal with making a decision. I do wish high quality masks were available to everyone.

  4. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:15 am:

    Don’t see the problem, go to Academy and buy some deer blinds. Built in every shape and size, made to be put up and taken down in a few moments, easy to heat with a basic propane heater. Cheap, versatile, easy to heat.

  5. - Aaron B - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:23 am:

    > Despite what you may read on social media or hear on talk radio or see on local TV, the vast majority of people are concerned about catching the virus. Smart business owners understand this.

    I’ll just have to take your word on this one living in Kankakee (region 7 where indoor dining isn’t supposed to be an option). I see people every day asking on social media where they can go and eat with indoor dining only and getting plenty of replies. Some places that have closed indoor seating have been taking heat for following the restrictions. I assume you are right that the vast majority are wanting outdoor seating but it is still depressing to see how many people still aren’t taking things seriously.

  6. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:36 am:

    We overthink things. Let’s shut off our brains and listen to the president. The virus will go away because of herd mentality, then we can go back to restaurants.

  7. - Flapdoodle - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 10:05 am:

    == providing some with a sense that the worst is over==

    Given the novel virus’s cyclic pattern and that we we *don’t* know about it for certain far outweighs what we do know, how people can think the worst is over is beyond me. But yes, people are acting that way more and more, which just baffles me.

  8. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 10:16 am:

    I will handle the cold to hunt deer. Not for a meal I can carry out.

  9. - jimbo26 - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    Not going to eat inside until it is safe. Will continue to order & pick up. Looks like bad winter for restaurants. Too bad people won’t all mask up for 3 weeks to get this under control.

  10. - striketoo - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    “Herd mentality.” The perfect description the Trump voters.

  11. - yinn - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:00 am:

    At the beginning of each school year, it has become customary for NIU students to use social media to organize weekend gatherings in this or that parking lot. Some of them are large, and everyone is concerned. So this past Monday DeKalb passed an ordinance to fine them $300 for not masking and social distancing in large groups. Mask-free restaurants and chronically bad behavior at parks were not discussed, and the vote occurred less than an hour following the entrance of a popular local developer who walked up the aisle to the microphone with no mask in sight and presented his proposal without challenge.

  12. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:05 am:

    Restrictions aren’t keeping me from indoor dining, the virus is. You can lift all of the restrictions tomorrow and I won’t be eating inside of a restaurant because it’s not a risk worth taking.

  13. - illinifan - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:28 am:

    Will continue outdoor dining. In Europe people will sit outside even in the winter. They just wear a coat and use a blanket. If businesses make use of heaters and fire pits and other creative strategies we will manage. Beside once we have a few subzero days and then warm up we feel like it is shorts and flip flops weather.

  14. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    I don’t know what the big deal is. I thought Amy Jacobson declared the pandemic over

  15. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    =I thought Amy Jacobson declared the pandemic over=

    I’d be curious to know how serious Amy takes this in her personal life. I knew a guy that said it was really no big deal, but then admitted that he was in a room with a bunch of people where somebody sneezed and they all bailed.

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