Restaurants Struggle With Outdoor Dining Amid Heater Shortage

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Starting Saturday, restaurants are only allowed to seat customers outdoors and with temperatures dipping, business owners are scrambling to adapt. Especially now, with an apparent shortage of outdoor equipment like patio heaters.

The Red Rooster has been in San Diego for 58 years. To locals, it's known as “Oceanside's Best Kept Secret”. But what COVID-19 has done to the iconic business is no secret at all. 

“I can't keep going at this rate for months and months,” said Sara Thames, owner of The Red Rooster.

Thames said restrictions brought on by the pandemic have cut revenue significantly, and have now being forced to operate outdoors, she fears the restaurant won't make it. 

“It's 40 degrees out (at night), people are not going to want to come,” Thames said. “It's devastating."

In hopes of saving her restaurant, Thames has been scrambling to find outdoor heaters. But, unfortunately, the availability of them is undetermined at this time.

“Right now, you can't get a heater anywhere, nationwide,” Thames said. “Right now the delivery on them is at the end of February, end of March. That's not going to do anyone any good for the next few months.”

So in an effort to help the struggling industry, Oceanside locals Janice Hernandez and her fiance Al Rosenstein have found a way to get restaurants what they need.

“I noticed my neighbor had a heater in the backyard and she wasn't using it," Hernandez said.

The couple has helped connect seven restaurants with residents willing to lend their personal outdoor heaters.

“(We) love helping other people, we’re all in this together and it's a great opportunity to help,” Rosentine said. 

Anyone interested in helping can contact them at:

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