With Outdoor Dining, How Will Philadelphia Restaurants Cope When Cold Weather Rolls In?

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Restaurant owners offering outdoor dining have noticed that has been key to keeping their businesses alive in these past few months of the pandemic. But how will restaurants cope when we go from cool to cold?

Starting Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf will expand indoor dining capacity for restaurants across the state from 25% to 50%. But, that will not be the case here in Philadelphia. It’s going to remain at 25% capacity for indoor dining.

It was the perfect night for date night.

“Every Friday we try to do something different,” said Niyah Terrell.

Terrell and Donya Topping enjoyed one of the city’s popular designated outdoor dining areas which has given residents a whole new perspective on road closures.

“You can feel the weather you don’t have to be all crowded up,” Topping said.

Just up the street on Walnut, diners enjoyed the outdoor vibe cultivated by The Olde Bar.

“Here you have in the area somewhere of 80 seats previously our indoor dining could have only had about 35-40 seats,” Scott Campanella said.

Outdoor dining has become an adapted and for some a vibrant business model for restaurants across the region. But weather remains the x-factor especially as this crisp air turns cold.

“Even if we did have outdoor heating you can only go so far and once you get into say November that’s over,” Campanella said.

The next option has everything to do with space, as it stands eateries can only operate indoor spaces at 25% capacity.

“Where we converted a catering ballroom which had the occupancy level into an indoor dining for the restaurant,” Campanella said.

While not all restaurants have a ballroom remodel option, in just two weeks, The Olde Bar transformed their banquet area into a tastefully spaced-out space ready for inclement weather and the date nights that will endure.

“I think that when it gets cold we are going to start going indoors but be more cautious about what we are around and who we are around and stuff like that,” Terrell said.

This weekend the city will have a dozen street closures to accommodate for outdoor dining going on.

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