How Michigan bars, restaurants are trying to survive a coronavirus winter

Outdoor seating is on its way out as temperatures drop


DETROIT – Autumn is here and that means -- among other things -- winter is coming.

Many businesses are struggling because of the coronavirus epidemic -- and restaurants and bars have been hit especially hard.

One bright spot for the industry has been outdoor dining, but with winter around the corner, restaurant owners are wondering how long they can keep going.

At Italia Mia Restaurant & Pizzeria in New Milford, Connecticut, outdoor dining has been a lifeline, but there’s a reality to life in places like New England and Michigan: Temperatures will plunge.

Outdoor heaters are helping stretch the season into fall, but it’s not a permanent solution.

“You can’t survive without them right now," said Rocco Dileo. "The winter is going to be tough.”

An estimated 100,000 restaurants have closed and not all of them will reopen.

“Every day, I’m getting a phone call from a restaurant operator who is making a business decision as to whether they can keep their doors open,” said Sean Kennedy, with the National Restaurant Association.

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