Winter Is Coming – Can Restaurants Survive?

Reid Matthias | CaptiveAire

I’m constantly seeing restaurants open up new rooftop seating areas, or displaying their new expanded patio sections to combat COVID-19. This is great for Minnesota and other areas with mild summers. We’re able to get some sunshine and enjoy fresh, clean air. I just have one huge problem that is on the way. WINTER. What happens when winter comes?

Restaurants cannot have outdoor seating in the Minnesota winter. It’s just not possible. For those of you who have never experienced a winter up north, it can get to -30 F! Not joking.

If everyone goes inside, Covid-19 will spread like wildfire. Are restaurants going to be held to 50% capacity? 25%? Can they even stay open if they do that? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

We’re able to social distance and eat safely outside because the air is clean and fresh. Current inside air is neither clean nor fresh. Buildings currently have HVAC systems that recirculate a minimum of 80% of inside air. This air is stale and not nearly as clean as outside air. This is the old way of doing things.

The new way is bringing in up to 100% outside, clean, fresh air. The Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS) are actually more efficient and eco-friendly than the old rooftop units. If properly applied, restaurants will be just as safe as eating on a patio.

For me, it’s cool to see the HVAC industry come up with their solution to this problem. What are other non-healthcare industries doing that might not be in the daily spotlight?

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