Michigan suburb builds heated areas for businesses in winter

Restaurants will use food stands to serve their dishes

A virus (WDIV)

NORTHVILLE, Mich. – A Detroit suburb has partnered with a business owner to build heated stands and pods to help restaurants and shops get through the winter amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Northville Downtown Development Authority and Manfred Schon, owner of data company Up2Go, has unveiled its “Heat in the Street” experience, MLive.com reported.

Schon, who is from Germany, said he wanted to help Northville businesses during winter months with outdoor dining and shopping like he had back home.

“He grew up with these outdoor markets and structures which took a different approach to winter, which is just embracing it instead of keeping it out,” said Lori Ward, director of the Development Authority, which advocates for the downtown business district. “He kind of pitched this idea to me of celebrating winter and the outdoors.”

Ward said Schon’s business has done very well this year, and he wanted to give back to the community. He's raised $100,000 so far.

Restaurants will use food stands to serve their dishes, and customers will use the heated dining pods. They will have tables for four to six people.

“We have lots of support from the restaurants who are on board to make sure the stands are always occupied with something good," Ward said.

The stands and pods will be in addition to outdoor areas many downtown restaurants are already planning outside of their businesses for the winter, Ward said.

The stands and pods will be up in coming days and weeks. Pods will be open daily from noon to 10 p.m. The vendor stands will be open from noon to 10 p.m. on weekends. They will remain up through early March.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 244,741 as of Friday, including 7,929 deaths, state officials report.

Friday’s update represents 8,516 new cases and 118 additional deaths, including 83 from a Vital Records review. On Thursday, the state reported 236,225 total cases and 7,811 deaths.