Inclement weather could generate a decline in business for restaurants that have been able to expand outdoor operations during the pandemic.
The summer months have allowed businesses on Franklin Street and elsewhere to use outdoor seating practices to bring in business while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
But despite initial success with outdoor seating and customer turnout, the coming colder weather may pose a challenge to businesses as outdoor seating will potentially change.
In North Carolina, restaurants are currently capped at 50 percent capacity indoors.
Business owners, such as Bret Oliverio of Sup Dogs, have expressed concern over the lack of indoor seating and how the dropping temperatures will affect business.
Sup Dogs currently holds 11 tables indoors and will acquire two heaters for outdoor seating.
But Oliverio said seasonal weather could have a detrimental effect on customer turnout, especially if there are more COVID-19 outbreaks.
“If there’s another wave then, I think the combination of another wave, minimal outdoor seating due to cold weather, I think it’s really gonna put a strain on business,” Oliverio said.
Despite these concerns, the Town of Chapel Hill and the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership have joined efforts in an attempt to prepare Franklin Street businesses for the colder months ahead.