Heaters are worth it for the Roycroft Inn, which had patrons sitting in its open-air peristyle in 67-degree weather this week – patrons who “said they would never eat inside any restaurant,” Garvey said. Garvey just bought six new heaters for the peristyle, which has a roof and pillars.
Tents and canopies might help with the elements for a while but, restaurateurs wonder, how much can a patio be modified and still be considered an outdoor space? And how does a restaurant keep a space properly heated and properly ventilated at the same time?
“It’s basically a Covid cave. No thanks,” said Lou Fasolino, owner of Belsito on Hertel Avenue, in a Facebook comment.
Fasolino said hopes are better pinned elsewhere.
“I hope and pray for takeout to become busy again,” he wrote. “Otherwise it’s an impossible fight. Anyone saying otherwise isn’t being honest with themselves.”
It’s a grim outlook, but a realistic one, according to the state restaurant association.
Its survey published this month of more than 1,000 restaurant owners across the state found that nearly two-thirds of New York’s restaurants are likely to close by the end of the year unless they get some kind of financial intervention from the state or federal government. Of those who said they are likely to close, more than half said they will probably go out of business by November.