Winter weather poses a new challenge for restaurants during the pandemic as they continue to serve customers primarily outdoors.
Over the past few months, restaurants workers have had to set up tables and chairs outside to abide by COVID-19 restrictions, but now they'll have to take rain, wind, and the cooler temperatures into consideration.
“I feel like everyday I don’t know what’s going to happen. I could come to work and we could be moved back inside, we could have to be all outside, you just don’t really know," said Stephen ZagRodny, a server at TASTE! Craft Eatery in San Luis Obispo.
Outdoor seating spaces without coverings may not be suitable when wet conditions return to the Central Coast.
Some local restaurants are looking into purchasing additional heaters and upgrading umbrellas to keep guests warm and dry while enjoying their meals.
“We’re definitely moving the heaters around, normally we don’t like moving the heaters too much, but we’ve been accommodating guests wherever they’re sitting. We’ll surround them with heaters to make it as warm as possible where they are," ZagRodny said.
Waiters at Breakfast Buzz on Santa Rosa St. say they aren't able to put up umbrellas because the wind can blow them onto the street.
"At first having a big patio was super nice, but with it getting colder, it’ll probably be a lot more difficult," said Averi Reynolds, a server at Breakfast Buzz.
Business owners are now looking to balance COVID-19 safety with overhead coverage, as San Luis Obispo County restrictions only allow 25% percent capacity indoors.
“We are having our construction team working on an awning that’s going to cover out entire patio and that’s going to be well ventilated to follow the CDC requirements," said Claire Burman, the shift lead at Petra Mediterranean Pizza and Grill.
Despite the changes in weather, some customers like the emphasis on outdoor dining and say it should stick around post-pandemic.
“If we had the option, I would prefer to be able to sit outside. I like to look around and people watch. It's a little bit better of an atmosphere,"said Javier Campos, a Hanford resident.