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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Toronto pub is giving customers disposable blankets so they can stay warm on the patio

Toronto bars and restaurants are now taking a cue from Europe and providing blankets for customers on their patios as temperatures drop.

Colder weather means two things: chillier patio sessions, and sadly, a second wave of COVID-19. Therefore, bars not only have to get creative with how they're keeping people warm on their outdoor patios, they have to make sure they're doing it safely.

Beer bar C'est What has opted to simply give away blankets, which are the disposable "space" variety made of a shiny thermal material.

Tim Broughton hastens to point out that their indoor area is also very safe, with 75 guests spaced out over 7000 square feet and two separate HVAC systems that provide 3000 cubic feet/minute of fresh air.

"For the folks who don't want to go indoors, we are doing everything we can to make our curbside patio comfortable. After seeing a few guests huddled against the cold, we had the idea to go European and provide blankets, but we couldn't use normal blankets because of the potential for infection," says Broughton.

"We needed a single-use option, and the space blankets are just the ticket. They cost less than $1 each, so we are happy to hand them out to our customers." While the blankets are technically disposable, Broughton hopes that people will reuse them.

"We are taking delivery this week of two propane patio heaters, and are planning to put up some wind breaks to make the patio even more comfortable. With any luck, the combination of these will keep our patio guests comfortable well into November," adds Broughton.

Other bars are providing blankets, but most are opting for reusable blankets that patrons can purchase, and some are even forwarding proceeds to charities.

The Alpine has started selling fleece blankets for $10, or encourages you to bring your own, and is in the process of installing gas heating on their backyard patio.

"If we can manage to get our hands on some propane heaters for the front, we'd love to keep the curbside patio going as long as possible," says Sarah Townson, interior designer and social media manager for The Alpine. 

"But those are less efficient and not as far-reaching, so keeping food warm on tables will be a challenge. We have started advising guests to order apps one after the other so they can be enjoyed hot, rather than have everything drop at once. The experience is certainly different this year, but we're adapting."

It’s cold out and it’s going to stay that way for a while (yay, Canada). While we will be putting out heaters and some hot drinks on our patio, sometimes you just need a fleece blanket. With support from our friends @patron (@to_imbibe), proceeds from the sale of our fleece blankets will be going to @covenanthousetoronto, in support of at risk, trafficked and houseless youth in Toronto. Being able to eat/drink out- even with all these protocols- is still a luxury that many in our community would only dream of accessing. At Mordecai, we will be rocking the patio for as long as is safe (in addition to a very spacious inside dining room). Come by and have a Japanese curry pot pie and a hot toddy some time soon

A post shared by Bar Mordecai (@barmordecai) on

Bar Mordecai is also offering fleece blankets for $10, with proceeds going to Covenant House. 

"The blanket program was an idea our GM Christina Veira came up with as we thought about ways to make our patio more comfortable as the weather changes," says Emily Blake of Bar Mordecai.

"We partnered with Tequila Patron, who are offsetting the cost to the business, allowing more of the blanket sales to be given directly to Covenant House. We offer the option to everyone who sits on our patio - they're also welcome to bring their own blankets with them - and if they purchase a blanket they can take it home."

According to Blake, the response has been great, and other restaurant owners have let them know they want to offer a similar program.

For example, it wasn't long before Le Phenix was inspired to follow their lead, selling their blankets for $8 and also donating to Covenant House.

Le Phenix is one of many businesses in Toronto that have elected not to open their dining room, so the blankets are crucial to keeping their patio business going.

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO

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