New outdoor heater program launches for restaurants during winter months of COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As we enter the colder months, many restaurants and bars owners see outdoor heaters at a critical piece of equipment to sustain business.

Right now, not every customers feels comfortable dining indoors and some are opting to eat outside.

Shop Local Raleigh says it's doing what it can to make sure sales aren't completely frozen this winter for struggling restaurants and bars.

The advocacy group is sourcing a number of highly coveted outdoor heaters and selling them at a deeply discounted price.

"We were fortunate enough to experience a warmer start to winter, but now it's helpful to have the heaters for sure," said Armadillo Grill District Manager Erika Wright.

Armadillo Grill on Glenwood South is hoping to benefit. The spot has a few heaters already, but not enough for its huge outdoor dining area.

Central North Carolina restaurants worry about diminishing traffic as COVID-19 cases rise

Wright is thrilled at the opportunity.

"Just the fact that they have them period is great so we'll try to snatch up a couple more," Wright said.

Restaurants and bars can get them at a steal of only $75. They can retail north of $175.

The savings are being offset by community donations.

CARE Plastic Surgery in Cary is one spot that wrote a check to help other small businesses.

Most are just trying to get by and more appreciative than ever for every last dollar or customer that comes through the door.

"It's different. We're not selling a lot of alcohol like we used to, but I'll take whatever to stay open," said Wright.
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