DC Restaurants Struggle to Find Equipment for Outdoor Dining in Cooler Weather

Outdoor propane heaters are flying off shelves in the District

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Even as temperatures are cooling down, D.C.’s government is trying to keep people eating outdoors.

A $6,000 grant from the District government could give restaurants additional weeks, or even months, to provide service in outdoor patios.

Restaurant owner Constantine Stavropoulos says the coronavirus pandemic has made people more inclined to eat outside, where public health experts say you’re less likely to get sickened with coronavirus.

“People are not filling the seats inside. They still prefer to sit outside,” Stavropoulos said.

Chicken and Whiskey on 14th Street turned to next-door neighbor Logan Hardware for the sturdy outdoor picnic tables that have helped the restaurant to continue serving its popular Peruvian-style chicken in a tented "streetery."

“Everyone’s getting the patio furniture, the tables, the chairs of all kinds,” said Kevon Smith, who works at Logan Hardware.

The hardware store is known for its can-do attitude and hard-to-find items. But the rush is making certain items hard to obtain, especially outdoor propane heaters.

“We just got three in and they all sold by our website before they hit the floor,” Smith said.

The District is also temporarily waiving the fee for permits to use outdoor tents and propane heaters.

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