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Lexington restaurants coming up with plans for outdoor seating as weather gets colder

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 4:04 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - When new COVID-19 restrictions went into place, one way a lot of restaurants were able to keep serving as many people as they could was to expand their outdoor seating. But with temperatures starting to drop, they’re going to have to make some adjustments in the coming weeks.

The outside dining at Carson’s is a pretty popular option.

“With our four sidewalk tables right now it’s a lot of our walk-up guests, and once winter hits us losing those tables, we’re going to be turning some people away, which we don’t want to do obviously,” Kyle Zimmerman said.

When the governor announced increased regulations because of COVID, the city of Lexington eased restrictions, so restaurants could add seating to the sidewalk, parking lots and even the street.

“It really allows our restaurants to maximize their space to help keep people safe and healthy,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said. “Because people do like to go out to eat.”

But those seats only work if it’s comfortable outside. With freezing temperatures in the coming days, some of them may start to go away.

“We have two huge heaters, we have a fireplace out there so our plan is to hopefully have those doors stay open as long as we possibly can,” Zimmerman said.

The city will work with restaurants, on things like tents and heaters, but those steps can only go so far.

“If you have a completely closed in tent where all sides are closed in, it’s considered indoor space."

And that changes the regulations, meaning less people can fit in the same space, because it’s not open to the outside.

“Once it goes below 55° we have to shut those doors. We lose some tables. So like I said we’re trying to just adapt when we can where we can and hopefully have those doors open as long as we can,” Zimmerman said.

The mayor tells us they have extended the easing of those regulations letting people have seats outside until May 2021.

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