Restaurant owners have been under pressure since the start of the pandemic.

Now colder temperatures bring new challenges as outdoor dining ends.

Right now indoor dining rooms still face capacity limits

Health experts also fear there could be a second wave of COVID-19 cases, which could bring another round of strict lock downs.

“I could cross my fingers and pray all I want that we get some warmer weeks ahead. People just don’t want to sit out to eat when it’s 50 degrees,” says Josh Loete, General Manager of Bent River Brewing Company.

The pandemic forced extreme restrictions on restaurants and bars for the past six months.

Restaurants already struggling to stay afloat due to the pandemic have a new challenge rapidly approaching, as the weather begins shifting it’s limiting outdoor dining options.

“With people not being able to sit outside, it’s going to cut our occupancy down by half. So it’s going to definitely cut back on our business,” says Loete.

It’s a situation Loete says he saw coming.

“It’s always been a scare though hearing about Governor Pritzker possibly rolling back. If we roll back to outdoor seating only in this cold weather we won’t be able to do anything. To-go food, and to-go beer will not be enough to keep us open really, ” says Loete.

“You kind of expecting something everyday this year you know,” says Frank Berner, Owner of Sippis Restaurant in Davenport.

He says the seasonal changes are always a big change for the restaurant, as they are patio oriented.

“I met with an Awning Supply Company to come out here, and see about putting a small addition on to our sunroom. We can have side panels that we can remove in the spring, and also have a heated area to adjust,” says Berner