Outdoor dining options in Boulder help keep service industry jobs, restauranteur says

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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The full-on pre-pandemic dining experience hasn’t exactly returned to places like Boulder, but extending a local outdoor dining rule could help keep customers coming in and jobs in the service industry.

“I don’t think the mask mandate has impacted business,” said Kasie Waxman, who helps run My Neighbor Felix in Boulder.

She said temporary outdoor dining has been good for her restaurant.

“It has been such a pivotal part of our business. We’re talking 72 extra covers, every single night,” Waxman said.

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Bringing in extra business is a good thing for them, since they just opened in April.

“We are just so excited to know that, financially, we can depend on this extra business,” Waxman said.

The City of Boulder recently extended rules to let restaurants continue serving customers outside, at their impromptu patios. Right now, they can do this until April 2022. Restaurants are adjusting to this extension, hanging up lights, setting up partitions.

Waxman said they’re getting heaters ready for the winter, as they did at their location in Denver last year.

“I think that that’ll carry over into Boulder and we’ll really be able to do the same thing and keep this extra business through the winter,” she said.

These outdoor experiences are also funding jobs that could’ve been causalities with fewer customers.

“Because we kept the outside, because we’re able to keep this outside business,” Waxman said.

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The conversations now are about letting these fixtures hang around for a few years.

“We’re all just appreciative as restaurant operators and owners, to be able to do this for the next couple of years,” Waxman said.

That decision has yet to be made but the city said plans could be presented to city leaders in February 2022 to decide to extend outdoor dining options or not.

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