Bars and restaurants preparing for colder weather to end outdoor seating

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, and that means colder temps are right around the corner.

That is going to be a problem for local bars and restaurants.

Since COVID-19 has limited the number of people allowed inside businesses, outdoor seating has been a lifeline.

“Being able to sit outside like this, you can’t beat it,” said Jesse Guisleman.

After a morning on the golf course, Guisleman is trying to soak up as much nice weather as he can.  “Figured I’d get out here while we still can, before it turns to winter,” he said.

“It feels a lot better and it’s not so crowded,” said Avery Jones, who likes the fact that she can bring her dog with her and sit outside.  She also likes a little break from wearing a mask.

“Outdoor seating is really nice to just take it off and breathe a little bit,” said Jones.

Outdoor seating has saved many businesses in the COVID era, who aren’t allowed to fill their tables indoors.

“It’s been fairly important I would say,” said Schuyler Welch from Café Corazon in Bay View.

Café Corazon says their patio space has made up for lost revenue, but as temperatures inevitably drop in Wisconsin, that option will slowly disappear.

“It’s kind of up in the air right now, we’re kind of getting some feedback from customers right now and just kind of seeing how the weather turns out,” said Welch.

And they are already planning.  They’ve talked about things like outdoor heaters, and allowing customers to bring what they need to stay warm.

“I’m going to let people sit out on the patio as long as they want, even if they want to bring their own blankets or coats if they want to,” said Welch.

Right now it’s fine with temps in the 60’s and 70’s, but when our Wisconsin winters hit, that will mean an end to eating outside at most places, and it will mean another financial problem for an industry already struggling.

“I can’t really know what’s going to happen in the winter time,” said Welch.

“I probably won’t go out to eat at all to be honest, it would just be too much, just do carryout,” said Jones.

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