Restaurants face new challenges this winter season

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) – Outdoor seating is what helped keep many businesses afloat during the onset of the pandemic.

It allows guests the dine in experience, while staying safe outside.

Mad Mex in State College usually closes its patio in October, but due to the pandemic, they decided to leave it open all winter to accommodate guests.

According to regional manager Molly Wisniewski, no matter the temperature, guests are still asking to sit outside.

“We still see people out there, everyday somebody asks to sit outside,” said Wisniewski.

This is why the restaurant decided to add heaters to the patio.

“We have several under the awning which can be enclosed as well with leaving like a flap open so some fresh air can get it. It can also be completely open if we want it to. We also added heaters in the surrounding area for people walking in, employees what not,” said Wisniewski.

She says, that since the coronavirus hit, it’s been a struggle. On top of limited capacity, they’re running on a low volume of business since students are home.

“It’s been really difficult. We have a lot of servers, bussers, store guys, back of house staff, line cooks, dish washers that you know we haven’t been able to give full hours to. And they’re just not making the same money that they were before,” said Wisniewski.

While one of restaurants biggest fears is being forced to switch to take-out only, Wisniewski says if that were to happen, she reminds guests to please tip their server.

“This is what these people live off of,” said Wisniewski.

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