Local restaurants begin prepping for fall season amid COVID-19 pandemic

Hampden County

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Labor Day weekend for many is the unofficial end of summer and start to fall, but as things start to cool down, what will happen to restaurants relying on outdoor dining? 

Restaurants told 22News they’ll probably focus more on delivery and curbside pickup once the temperature drops.  

“People aren’t going to want to eat outside when it’s negative 20 in Massachusetts,” said Peter Cardoz. 

Nowadays, outdoor dining is almost everywhere you look. But not everyone is on board with going inside once the temperature drops, especially during a pandemic. 

Cardoz added, “If you are potentially infected and don’t know it you could spread it through indoor dining. Unfortunately, you have to take your mask off to eat. I don’t think these restaurants are currently equipped with the HVAC system to properly ventilate out the virus if someone is infected.” 

Back in June, the state allowed restaurants to resume indoor dining but many places expanded to outdoor seating to serve customers who might not be comfortable with eating inside during a pandemic. 

According to the Federal Reserve Bank, more than a third of restaurants sales in Massachusetts this summer came from outdoor dining. Despite the fact that fewer than 20 percent of restaurants even had outdoor dining as an option before the pandemic. 

“I think it’s going to be challenging getting the people in here but I think what’s gonna happen is the patio is going to be replaced with more of a take-out, and I think that’s going to make up the loss of the patio,” said Nadim Kashouh, owner of Nadim’s in downtown Springfield. 

Nadim’s hopes that people will still come out for the final three or four weeks of outdoor dining while the weather gets cooler, just maybe bring a light jacket.

Capacity in restaurants right now is 25 percent and Governor Charlie Baker has not commented on if he will expand that as the season changes. 

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