UTICA, N.Y. - Bars and restaurants are among the businesses that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and colder weather during the fall and winter months are bringing new challenges.
Restaurants like Babe's Utica are preparing with a tent, heaters and fire pits, but in Central New York that will only last for so long.
"It's going to be a challenge, especially at night time," ORB Food & Beverage president Jeff Stone said. "We're doing our best to keep people safe, people outside, and that's what our goal is."
Outdoor dining has helped save bars and restaurants after they reopened with limited capacity and with capacity still limited, businesses are doing what they can to weather the challenges.
"It's rough for all these restaurants right now, the smaller restaurants are obviously facing a tougher time and we're feeling the pinch," Stone said. "When you see a restaurant that seats about 300 and you're cut in half, it's an issue for us."
Restaurant owners are hoping that tents and heaters are going to help extend outdoor dining as long as possible.
"It's been a little challenging but the heaters are helping for us," Stone said. "It does get cold at night, wwe're not sure what's going to happen in the future but we plan to have the tent up as long as we can."
The cold weather ahead is no surprise but it will make a much bigger impact this year.
"We started planning this in early August for the tent and heaters and stuff and obviously the cold weather is coming and we have to do what we can do to keep people coming in," Stone said. "People want to be outdoors and we're trying to do our best to make sure we can keep that happening."