New grant helps Raleigh restaurants expand outdoor dining options during winter months
Posted October 30, 2020 7:39 p.m. EDT
Updated October 30, 2020 7:48 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Outdoor dining has become a major lifeline for restaurants, allowing them to serve more people. However, as we head into the colder months, restaurants are facing new challenges with expanding their outdoor seating and keeping customers warm.
Dozens of restaurants in downtown Raleigh have made adjustments to bring in more business while adhering to coronavirus guidelines. Now, those restaurants are developing plans to adapt in the winter.
Around 40 local restaurants in the area are now using city property for outdoor dinning. As winter approaches, city officials and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance are trying to help restaurants sustain business during the colder months with a new grant.
"We set up the grant to really be aimed at downtown small business owners," said Bill King, CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance, in partnership with Duke Energy, awarded 60 grants of up to $5,000 dollars to businesses this week to help with their pandemic needs.
Much of that money will be used to keep outdoor diners warm and coming back.
"We saw a fair number of people apply for outdoor heaters. They made a case that that would be a part of their pivot to do outdoor dining through the winter," said King.
City officials said they are working with the fire marshal to ensure heating lamps are used safely.
King said right now it’s unclear how many restaurants will remain al fresco during the colder months. He just hopes that as temperatures drop, profits don’t go with it.