Despite temperatures in Massachusetts dipping into the 50s Saturday night, people flooded Moody Street in Waltham to have dinner outside, something restaurant managers hope lasts as the weather gets even colder in the coming weeks.
While outdoor dining surged in popularity during the summer as the coronavirus pandemic limited indoor space, restaurants are concerned that its appeal will fizzle out in the fall.
“So far, we haven’t had much negative. I think there’s a lot of ‘What ifs’ to come in the months or days ahead,” said Erin Barnicle, general manager of Tempo. “My concerns going forward after that are the hope that people are willing to dine inside, letting us provide a safe space for them to come and eat out.”
Outdoor heaters, which are now set up outside most restaurants along the closed street, seemed to take the bite out of the chill for most people.
“You hear everybody chattering and laughter, and it just feels more like Europe,” said Deborah Anitco, who said outdoor dining reminds her of Italy.
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But sitting outside in the cold isn’t for everyone.
“It’s starting to get cooler, and the kids are going to be a little cooler and stuff like that, so we decided to take them inside,” said Gary Shrouder, who opted for an indoor table.
Outdoor dining in Waltham runs through Nov. 1, but restaurant managers plan to meet with city officials in the coming days to ask for an extension until Dec. 1.