Chicago Is Offering $5,000 For Ideas On How To Safely Operate Outdoor Dining This Winter

During the COVID-19 pandemic, experts believe it is generally better to see others outside versus inside, which is why many cities and states may have placed heavier restrictions on indoor dining or denied the opening of dining rooms entirely. But as summer winds down, many have wondered how restaurants will be able to operate outdoor dining safely and efficiently with colder, rainier, and snowy weather.
Chicago is apparently taking a crowdsourcing route to solve that issue, asking people to submit their ideas on how to safely keep open outdoor dining in the winter months, even offering $5,000 to the winning ideas, Restaurant Business Online reported.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a variety of challenges to residents of Chicago and Chicago’s business owners,” the release about the challenge reads: “Businesses that rely on socializing and/or having people in close proximity to one another are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, like social distancing and robust ventilation.Restaurants, bars, and cafes are business types that have been able to open for safe on-site service as the weather warmed up in the city.”
“Now, the City of Chicago is trying to think through how to keep the neighborhood businesses (especially restaurants and bars) open during the late Fall and Winter as the weather turns colder,” it continued.
The contest asks participants to keep customer as well as staff safety in mind and notes the idea must be focused on outdoor dining rather than delivery or take out. Additionally, all submissions must keep in mind social distancing as well as restaurant operations. The challenge will select three winners who will all be eligible for the prize money. Winning ideas can be anything from strategies to start-up or existing companies.
Some solutions restaurants are already looking at are re-usable blankets, replacing metal furniture, and adding heaters and more greenery as weather gets colder, but if you can think of anything better, it might be worth entering!

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