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“Outdoor” dining
Old 11-21-2020, 12:06 AM   #1
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“Outdoor” dining

Indoor dining is now generally accepted as a prime source of Covid-19 transmission, so has been banned where I live.

Outdoor dining is relatively safe and remains legal. However, with winter on the way and temperatures falling, it is less and less comfortable; so many restaurants are reacting by building elaborate tented structures. But of course if you have a roof to retain heat, and walls to block the wind, there’s no natural ventilation and IMO you’re no longer really “outdoors” at all.

Guidelines require at least two sides of any enclosure must be fully open to the weather: but that rarely seems to be complied with (or, I presume, enforced).

The more restaurants I see adopting this dubious tactic, the more I believe that all restaurants should just be shut down altogether. The KISS Principle applies.
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Old 11-21-2020, 09:16 AM   #2
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Agree. I think that people believe they can manipulate a virus like an attorney in court. You cant twist words with it; the virus doesnt care. Its gonna do what viruses do. "BUT WE WERE OUTSIDE" Yeah ok, tell it to the ER doc as youre ventilated.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:11 AM   #3
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The best cold weather outdoor dining I have seen is in Europe - Umbrella covered tables with a propane heater very nearby. Blankets are on each seat for use in keeping warm. It works down to the low 50's or so, up to a point. But, it's definitely not 'fine dining'.

In my area we have what I call three sided tents set up on sidewalks and parking areas. One side is completely open to the air. I suspect that is much better than indoors but not as good as the umbrella setup above.

I am simply not going to have a nice meal in a restaurant. Period. Take out, yes. Coffee and a pastry with friend at an outdoor table on a cold but sunny day. Sure. But, real dining will have to wait until we have good weather and a vaccine.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:28 AM   #4
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Being in S Fla we're finally in the season where it's comfortable to have dinner outside, which is always my preference in normal times. I've sweated and frizzed through the summer months, but I don't care. Not like I'm rushing off to a party after dinner!

We might get a cold snap or two in Jan/Feb, but it'll have to be a severe one to keep me from my weekly safely distanced outdoor sushi dinner. If anything it'll give me a chance to wear boots/sweater/jacket that are otherwise only for winter trips.

I agree those tents look a bit sus, but if it's just you and your partner dining in them, and they are fully opened/aired-out between customers, then...ok. But not to gather with others or it misses the whole point.
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milton View Post
The more restaurants I see adopting this dubious tactic, the more I believe that all restaurants should just be shut down altogether. The KISS Principle applies.
Restaurant owners, and some other businesses, are between a rock and a hard place. If they’re all shut down indefinitely some/many will be financially ruined, so it’s a little too easy to just “shut them down altogether.” It’s going to take quite a while for vaccines to change what’s necessary.

Spacing outdoors can do wonders, I don’t think any of the tented options are at anything like the old cramped spacings in many restaurants. And a few have gone to individual bubbles outdoors, or clear plastic partitions.

I am not taking the pandemic lightly, but there are workable compromises, and we’re all free to abstain if we like. We’re wary of indoor dining, but we carefully do outdoor and takeout 3 times a week so there are still restaurants on the other side...
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:36 PM   #6
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Here in CA there is general business guidance that says outdoor businesses (hair and nail salons, card shops) must have 3 sides open for tents.

The restaurant guidelines aren't specific and allow geodesic domes, igloos, etc... But Santa Clara has clarified the 3 sides open rule for that county.

The local restaurants near me are just using umbrellas or 4 sides open pop-up type tents. Thankfully we have great weather.

A fairly good friend, in Philadelphia, just closed the bar/restaurant he's owned for 27 years because Philly just shut them down again. This bar has been in operation over 70 years. He's got another business venture going (micro-brewing) but his sidewalk seating wasn't enough to keep the bar/restaurant business going. Sad. But he's a survivor and I wish him well in his brewing business.
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:58 PM   #7
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Relevant article: The Atlantic: Don’t Eat Inside a Restaurant

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsHaloFIRE View Post
I think that people believe they can manipulate a virus like an attorney in court. You can’t twist words with it; the virus doesn’t care. It’s gonna do what viruses do.
So true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
I am simply not going to have a nice meal in a restaurant. Period. Take out, yes. Coffee and a pastry with friend at an outdoor table on a cold but sunny day. Sure. But, real dining will have to wait until we have good weather and a vaccine.
That sums up my own approach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
I agree those tents look a bit sus, but if it's just you and your partner dining in them, and they are fully opened/aired-out between customers, then...ok. But not to gather with others or it misses the whole point.
The tents I have seen, and am worried about, are very large and accommodate multiple dining parties; not individual plastic igloos.

While tables inside the tents look separated, presumably that’s considered insufficient protection or actual indoor dining would be permitted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Restaurant owners, and some other businesses, are between a rock and a hard place. If they’re all shut down indefinitely some/many will be financially ruined, so it’s a little too easy to just “shut them down altogether.” It’s going to take quite a while for vaccines to change what’s necessary....

We’re wary of indoor dining, but we carefully do outdoor and takeout 3 times a week so there are still restaurants on the other side...
You patronize restaurants much more frequently that I, so unsurprisingly you are more concerned about their welfare than I am.

I don’t wish any legal business ill, but arguably it is better to risk the failure of many restaurants if that helps ensure the survival of the greater economy and society.

There is no perfect solution, that’s for sure. Choices have to be made, and it is far from obvious which decisions are best.

Quote:
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we’re all free to abstain if we like
Sure, but that can also be said of mask wearing, social distancing, etc.

The problem is that infections negatively effect everyone, not just those engaging in higher risk activities.
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:10 PM   #8
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The tents I have seen, and am worried about, are very large and accommodate multiple dining parties; not individual plastic igloos.
Just to clarify ...

IMO this seems okay:



Again IMO, this does not:

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Old 11-21-2020, 01:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milton View Post
Relevant article: The Atlantic: Don’t Eat Inside a Restaurant

So true.

That sums up my own approach.

The tents I have seen, and am worried about, are very large and accommodate multiple dining parties; not individual plastic igloos.

While tables inside the tents look separated, presumably that’s considered insufficient protection or actual indoor dining would be permitted.

You patronize restaurants much more frequently that I, so unsurprisingly you are more concerned about their welfare than I am.

I don’t wish any legal business ill, but arguably it is better to risk the failure of many restaurants if that helps ensure the survival of the greater economy and society.

There is no perfect solution, that’s for sure. Choices have to be made, and it is far from obvious which decisions are best.

Sure, but that can also be said of mask wearing, social distancing, etc.

The problem is that infections negatively effect everyone, not just those engaging in higher risk activities.
If you want easy answers, just lockdown the entire economy, why single out restaurants? You’re at least as likely to be infected at gyms, hotels, cafes, religious gatherings, weddings, funerals etc. - not to mention thousands of family and friends getting together indoors and out at their homes and spreading COVID. Misinformation is another central cause...
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:39 PM   #10
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It is easy to say to shut things down when your livelihood, net worth , or solvency will not be impacted.

I support smart ways to keep these restaurateurs in business. And I patronize them where it is safe to do so.
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:43 PM   #11
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Midpack,
I'm snowbirding down in SWFL.
I was surprised to see signs at the door of every public business stating that masks were required.

The only exception I've seen so far is at a workout place in the local strip mall. Lots of people in there lifting weights, no masks to be seen.

We don't know anyone down here, so other than shopping, have stayed fairly isolated. It seems as safe as what we were experiencing in the midwest.

I'm probably the least safe around family at home.

We have had dinner on outside decks of restaurants twice. Went late afternoons before any dinner crowds show up.

Take care, JP
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If you want easy answers, just lockdown the entire economy, why single out restaurants? You’re at least as likely to be infected at gyms, hotels, cafes, religious gatherings, weddings, funerals etc. - not to mention thousands of family and friends getting together indoors and out at their homes and spreading COVID. Misinformation is another central cause...
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Pay restaurants and bars to close for six months
Old 11-21-2020, 02:18 PM   #12
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Pay restaurants and bars to close for six months

Now that we know a vaccine is on the way, the federal government could easily afford to pay all the bars to stay closed for six months. At $25B annual sales, the cost would be minimal for 6 months until a vaccine is widely deployed. The restaurant costs would be much larger but doable especially if they were incentivized to provide takeout but no indoor dining. Heck, you could also pay gyms to stay closed - they are a luxury not a basic need. These businesses are almost certainly at the forefront of spreading the virus. Our healthcare system is going to be on the brink of collapse unless we get infections under control for the next few months until the effects of a widely available vaccine kick in. All of these businesses presumably submit tax returns so the IRS knows revenues and expenses for the previous year. Seems it wouldn't be too difficult to turn things around and have the IRS pay out funds as opposed to taking them in.
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:43 PM   #13
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You’re at least as likely to be infected at gyms, hotels, cafes, religious gatherings, weddings, funerals etc.
That’s incorrect.

1) Hotels need not involve close interactions with members of other households, so are pretty low risk.

2) Gyms, religious gatherings, weddings and funerals do not require taking masks off, so involve significantly less risk of Covid-19 transmission. To be safest, such activities should be conducted outdoors, with limited numbers and with social distancing.

3) Cafes (and bars) are in the same category as restaurants: we agree about that.

None of the third category are essential - just eat or drink at home - so if more than a few try to play games with “outdoor” premises they should all be shut down, or at least limited to offering takeaway.

Quote:
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not to mention thousands of family and friends getting together indoors and out at their homes and spreading COVID.
A moot point, as such private gatherings are already illegal, at least where I live.
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Old 11-21-2020, 03:22 PM   #14
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I disagree with the premise that if we dont eat in restaurants right now there wont be restaurants in the future. Restaurants have ALWAYS life cycled. Every restaurant that closes makes opportunity for a new one to open, both space in the market and physical retail space. Lots of folks are waiting to open restaurants until the right location becomes available. Several opened in my city in the past few weeks waiting on exactly that. So some will prosper during this, some will fold during this due to space/adaptation/proprietor saying screw this Im retiring. But just like when we left our job, someone stepped in behind us. So no Im not going to go somewhere or order carryout in order to keep a restaurant in business. Yes I like eating out but if I dont choose to go right now, they need to figure it out without me. ADAPT or DIE (no offense to anyone in the restaurant business). Its a hardware store or sporting good store to me. Just a business like any other.
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Old 11-21-2020, 03:27 PM   #15
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For those of us in FLA, this is the time of year to really enjoy eating outside.
Thus since we will not eat indoors, we are lucky to have this choice available to us.
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Old 11-21-2020, 03:39 PM   #16
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A fairly good friend, in Philadelphia, just closed the bar/restaurant he's owned for 27 years
Oh no! That is a favorite of my family (who all live in that area). I have been there a couple of times while visiting. It was a great place.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:17 PM   #17
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We did outdoor dining once.
There was a wasp that kept buzzing around. Not so great experience.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:48 PM   #18
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We do indoor dining but the restaurants that we frequent have all adapted with special air filters, plexiglass shields between diners, wiping down everything between diners and spacing. We feel very safe eating in these places.

Pretty soon we will be in PV where outdoors and spacing will be our requirement.

All staff wear masks and face shields. So far so good...
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:20 PM   #19
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Agree. I think that people believe they can manipulate a virus like an attorney in court. You cant twist words with it; the virus doesnt care. Its gonna do what viruses do. "BUT WE WERE OUTSIDE" Yeah ok, tell it to the ER doc as youre ventilated.
Sure seems like it.

Can’t “reason” with a virus.......
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:18 AM   #20
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Just to clarify ...

IMO this seems okay:



Again IMO, this does not:

The first situation actually looks kind of fun, and I can see that being a little romantic in our personal "dining pod". But, I haven't seen anything like that in our area.

I just saw the second tent situation yesterday and couldn't figure out how that was any different than dining inside.

We weren't dining out much anyway, but now that colder weather is here and restrictions are even tighter, it's unlikely we'll be eating out for a while (short of drive through parking lot dates at the fast food restaurants).
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