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Heated Tables for Outdoor Dining: How to Spend Your Winter Ready Grant Money


New cases of COVID-19 are surging in the Washington DC area and just about everywhere else, now that the weather is getting too cool for outdoor recreation to be practical.  Meanwhile, pandemic fatigue is real, and it may be another factor contributing to the surge in new COVID-19 infections.  After quarantining all summer and then working from home while their children navigate the vicissitudes of online school, people just can’t stand to stay cooped up at home any longer.  As the weather gets cooler, there is nowhere to go except other indoor locations, or is there?  Restaurants and other businesses that have traditionally operated in enclosed spaces have started to pivot to an open-air business model, and a grant from the District of Columbia is helping them make their outdoor spaces hospitable during the colder months.  Whether or not your business is a recipient of a Winter Ready grant, a pivot grant, or any other type of small business funding, working with a small business attorney should be part of your strategy for getting through the winter.

Kotatsu, Brasero, Korsi, Foot Stove

“Pivot” seems to be the word on everyone’s lips these days, but perhaps you can stay in the restaurant or retail business and just move your business operations outdoors, where social distancing is easier and there is less risk of direct exposure to the novel coronavirus.  Heated furniture is an essential component of your outdoor seating area during the winter, and heated furniture is nothing new.  What sort of heated furniture is best for your outdoor seating area?  Some of these centuries-old furnishings from around the world could serve as examples:

  • Kotatsu – In 14th century Japan, the kotatsu was a cooking stove over which a table could be placed; people would sit on cushions near the kotatsu to stay warm. Today, the heat source in the modern kotatsu is electricity, not charcoal, but many houses still have a kotatsu.  In the summer, it is simply a table, but in the winter, people use its electric heat to stay warm.  People often wear kotatsu with a blanket that also covers the lower bodies of the people seated around it, and a flat tabletop goes above the blanket.
  • Brasero – In Spain, a brasero is a metal heater placed under a table covered by a tablecloth. Today, they are electric, but in the old days, charcoal was the source of heat.  Modern braseros contain a thermostat to keep the heat at safe levels.
  • Korsi – In Iran, a korsi is a low table that was traditionally used for outdoor dining in cold weather. It has a heater underneath (electric today, but charcoal in olden times), and a blanket covers the table and the lower bodies of the people seated around it.  A woven rug often covers it to protect it from food stains.
  • Foot stove – in the Netherlands, a foot stove was an open wooden box in which a pot of burning charcoal would be placed. People would stay warm by keeping their feet near the foot stove while covering their legs with blankets.

From heated furniture to under-floor heating, there is a way to make your place of business appropriate for outdoor winter seating.  A small business lawyer can help you adapt your business plans for this winter.

Let Us Help You Today

Clicking on pictures of heated furniture is the fun part of adapting your business plans for the COVID-19 winter; a Washington DC small business attorney can help you with the difficult decisions.  Contact Tobin O’Connor Concino P.C. for help today.



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