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Coronavirus forces restaurants to prep for cold weather dining

It's only a few weeks until the constant cool and rainy weather returns, and restaurants are preparing for a slow winter.

EDMONDS, Wash. — Restaurants have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic and many owners worry things will only get harder as the weather gets worse. The goal right now: keep outdoor seating available as long as possible. 

Restaurants and breweries have added outdoor seating capacity throughout the summer to help increase business and work with coronavirus restrictions, but many spots also realize come winter people might not be comfortable with sitting inside during the pandemic. 

Unfortunately, it's only a few weeks until the constant cool and rainy weather returns. To prepare, spots are adding tents and heaters. 

"I never imaged I was going to be putting together and fabricating PVC and Visqueen barriers to divide people, but we have it set up with safety," said Salish Sea Brewing Co. Owner Jeff Barnett. 

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Still, that set-up is an investment restaurants are making despite revenue being down. For many, business is down percentages in the double digits. 

Barnett says he's spent more than a couple thousand dollars to comply with coronavirus restrictions and increase outdoor seating. The restaurant and brewery has expanded seating in parking spots along Dayton Avenue and has added tents and plastic barriers between tables. 

"We've gone through a lot of hoops and barriers to make things happen, including building our own barriers and barricades to make sure we have appropriate liquor control and safety for all of out guest," said Barnett. 

Barnett and his wife Erika say they'll continue to plan for more changes.

"You'll be dry, but you might want to make sure to have a sweater if you come out," said Erika Barnett. "But, you know, it's just what we have to do."

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