Businesses across the nation are struggling to keep their doors open as more governors reimpose lockdown orders in the name of curbing the Wuhan coronavirus outbreaks taking place in their states. The businesses most impacted by these orders are restaurants, bars, breweries and fast food joints.
A businessman in Arvada, Colorado, however, came up with a unique way of helping out his friends in the hospitality industry.
Chad Hart began taking a portable dining set to whatever restaurant he visited so he could "dine" at their establishment – and do it outdoors, of course! Not only does Hart bring a table and chairs, but he is also prepared with a portable heater and candles for those establishments that do not have space for patio seating or the financial resources for outdoor heaters.
"All the business owners are trying to accommodate everybody," he said. "We go set up our dining area, we have some parking lot dinners you know with our heaters going to support local businesses."
Hart told KREM-TV he does his best to follow all regulations, keep his social distance, but more than anything, support mom and pop businesses who need the help. Each week he picks a new restaurant for every meal in hopes of helping struggling eateries.
"I turn on a little music and make it my evening. It's my time to eat, so I make it as fun as possible," he said. Just trying to support my local people here in Olde Town Arvada."
Hart said this is his way of paying tribute to the business owners he has known for years and a way to avoid the takeout styrofoam and to-go containers.
Before hitting up a new place to dine, Hart contacts the owners to make sure they are okay with him bringing his own furniture and heaters. He said, for the most part, the restaurant owners are thrilled with the new idea, especially if it means keeping their business afloat.
Under Gov. Jared Polis' (D) current Wuhan coronavirus restrictions, Coloradans are able to dine inside at 25 percent capacity or 50 people (whichever is lower) not including staff. Alcohol sales must conclude by 10 p.m. local time, all employees must wear masks, and tables must be six feet apart from one another. Gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer. Restaurants are also required to place markers on the ground so patrons can keep six feet apart from one another and provide hand sanitizer throughout their establishment. Tables and frequently used utensils, laminated dinner menus, electronic devices and other shared objects must be routinely sanitized between customers. Outdoor dining is strongly encouraged and recommended over indoor dining.
Employees are required to stay home if they are sick. Either the employer will pay for the person's time off or the state will provide emergency sick leave to those who have symptoms of the coronavirus.
As of now, Colorado has tested 2,012,614 people for COVID-19. Of those tests, 304,107 came back positive and 3,427 people have died.
Maybe more of us need to pack up tables, chairs, candles and a heater so we can support those in the restaurant and hospitality business. Many mom and pop restaurants and small businesses are facing the possibility of closing their doors forever because of governors deciding another round of lockdowns is the best way of addressing the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.