Latest fad: publicity shot from Dinner With a View, bubble dining company
They look so glamorous: transparent geodesic domes with tables for six inside, ruby-winking wine glasses, plates of food, beautiful people laughing and dining. And these “igloos” have been billed as safe, but also warm, outside dining experiences. Their big selling point is that they do not pick up viruses circulating in the general outside air. They have swept North America as a glamorous answer to the covid virus. And with these biting breezes hitting the county lately, people who don’t want to be stuck at home are seeing a ray of hope for their social lives.
Brig’s General Manager, Ed Pecus.
Meanwhile, restaurants have been having their own brilliant ideas. The streets of downtown are unprecedentedly full of life. Baja Betty’s on University has set up a network of transparently walled table spaces on either side of the sidewalk. They have brought in ferns, palms, flowers, and a real feeling of cozy community. The space looks positively fashionable.
But is it just me? Everybody clustering around any small space must be pushing their luck in the time of Covid.
CDC says the droplets people produce when they’re talking and laughing, especially loudly, especially close to others, especially for a long period, and super-especially when the air of the location is confined, are dangerous.
New fencing to enclose parking lot patios - Winter’s coming!
So when one of the more popular middle class chains, the Brigantine, started constructing plastic and wood walls around the outside dining area they created in their parking lot in Coronado, I just had to pop in to see what was up.
“Not at all,” says the general manager of this Brig, Ed Pecus, when I ask about enclosing the parking lot patio. “It’s a windscreen. We don’t see anything changing anytime soon covidwise, and with no indoor seating, you’ve got to make sure the guests are as protected as possible. We’re not allowed to put a top on, but anything that can protect you from the wind is good. So we just pray for no rain. If we get rain, then we probably shut down.”
Eating inside - okay if the windows stay open. And they are locked open.
He says they are lucky because they have their own parking lot. “And now, with winter, we were lucky to get our heaters early. Because now, you can’t find them.”
But I distinctly saw people dining indoors in the restaurant. That is banned, right?
“It’s right by the windows, and the windows don’t close, so you still have the fresh air that goes in and out. If you’re within five feet of a window, and those windows can’t close, [it’s okay]. It’s actually colder inside than it is out, because there are no heaters right next to [the tables]. But anything that employs one more server, who then doesn’t lose out on a shift [is good]. We’ve already cut down 30 percent, staff wise.”