Local eateries expand seating to outdoor space after reopening

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- More local restaurants are expanding their outdoor patio space to offer more seating while practicing social distancing.

The new outdoor patio space at Westwood's Barbecue is ready for customers - even in triple-digit heat.

"The most important thing we did is we put big swamp coolers on the roof and vented them down across this ceiling because most women don't like misters," said owner Dave Fansler.

It's the latest creative change to evolve from the COVID-19 crisis, that expands seating while keeping guests safe as they dine-in.

On Thursday, there was no shortage of hungry customers.

Bryan Parisi brought the whole family to mark the first time eating out since restaurants were forced to close.

"We're excited, we're not afraid. We think they've done everything that they needed to do so we're ready to eat," said Parisi.

Inside the restaurant, work is underway to install plexiglass to separate each booth.

At Campus Pointe across from Fresno State, Mad Duck owner Alex Costa is working to create more outdoor eating space by making the lawn in front of his restaurant a family-friendly place to eat and drink. The area would be shared by all of the eateries that surround it.

"There's a lot of space around restaurants that we can just sorta grow slightly into that will help give us that little edge, so we can maintain our employment levels, make sure we're doing good on our debt and rental obligations and just continue to be good business owners," says Costa.

For now, restaurant owners are continually reminding customers to practice social distancing. Grateful customers seem happy to oblige.

The one requirement at all Fresno restaurants is you wear a mask when you enter the restaurant. Of course, you can take it off when you eat or drink.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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