SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Many restaurants around western Massachusetts have relied on outdoor dining to host customers safely since reopening during the pandemic.
However, with cooler temperatures, approaching some restaurants said outdoor seating just doesn’t make sense.
For months, restaurants have taken advantage of the summer weather and expanded on outdoor dining, but with fall approaching, things are changing.
“They are talking about extending outdoor dining in December. I don't think that is feasible in New England the way the weather shifts between morning and evening,” said Nadim Kashouh, owner of Nadim’s Mediterranean Grill in Springfield.
Kashouh told Western Mass News he won’t be offering outdoor dining when it’s cold out.
“Well, for me, it’s a large patio. It’s a little difficult to heat it up with heaters and stuff like that. It’s not only buying the heater and propane and just make sure we are maintaining them and that stuff,” Kashouh explained.
Kashouh explained that instead of purchasing a tent and heaters, he would rather spend the money elsewhere.
“For us, instead of investing the money on outdoors seating and tents, I’d rather invest the money inside on sanitation and keeping up with all the requirements for the CDC and the local city as well,” Kashouh noted.
In addition to the health and safety of his employees and customers, he is focused on maintaining the quality of his food.
“Even if we put a tent, we put a wall in, a heater in it, just brining the food from inside into a tent the food is not going to make it. It’s going to get cold to the table and it’s not safe from my staff or customer to be outside in frigid weather,” Kashouh explained.
Right now, indoor dining all across the state is limited because of Governor Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 restrictions, but this business owner is hopeful that he will be allowed to increase capacity indoors.
“Right now, our capacity is 128, but the governor has allowed us 25 percent capacity. We are hoping adding dividers between tables, hopefully maybe increase the seating to 50 percent,” Kashouh added.
Once outdoor seating is gone, Nadim’s Mediterranean Grill is going to push more for take-out .
“Through the pandemic, we did fantastic. We were just doing full take-out and we had record day that beat a previous day when we opened for a full-service restaurant
Kashouh said he has not decided on a date to shut down the outdoor dining, but he did say it’s New England and they are going to focus on the weather.