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Baby It’s Cold Outside

10th February 2021

Eating During Covid


For a year now, we’ve all been dealing with the Covid pandemic. This deadly virus has affected almost all of our activities – work, school, travel, shopping – just about everything.

To combat this disease, we’ve been asked to change our habits. As a result businesses had to drastically change their operations or close altogether to comply with government mandated health rules.

Being involved with restaurants, I’ve watched closely as the food service industry has responded to forced dining limits or closures. In many localities, on-premise dining was prohibited so many restaurants started or increased take-out and/or delivery service. Some places allowed outdoor patio dining as long as the establishment’s seating arrangement allowed for social distancing.

As the weather turned colder, the popularity of outdoor dining dropped so restauranteurs looked for other ways to keep customers coming back.

Below you can see some of the clever ways that are used to keep winter outdoor dining safe and warmer.

These transparent igloos are spaced about ten feet from one another. Seating capacity is limited by local rules. Each has its own lighting and space heaters to keep patrons comfortable.

This tent has a slightly higher profile. Again the seating capacity is determined by local rules.

This classic delivery truck has been converted into a luxury, private winter dining area. The inside was cheerfully decorated for the Christmas holiday.

With snow outdoors, the small space heater keeps the interior warm. Patrons continue to wear their outdoor clothing but are protected from the elements as they dine.

The greenhouse structure and the ice fishing tent are other ways that restaurants have tried to accommodate customers during the cold weather.

We’re hearing that this pandemic will most likely be with us until Fall 2021. But until the warmer months arrive, many restaurants will continue to look for innovative ways to keep customers coming back.






Enjoy those Winter Brights

24th January 2011

In my last article Fight those Winter Blahs, I pleaded that you not put your camera away for the winter. In our part of the universe (western Michigan), December through March are known to bring day after day of heavy, blanketed overcast. Along with these dark clouds come lots of dull lighting that tends to stifle the picture taking mood of many of us. I suggested that despite the dark skies, there’s plenty of opportunities to find ways to make your subjects “shine”.

So it was a very pleasant surprise to see today’s sterling bright sunshine. As I looked out the window, I could see a crystal clear blue sky and blinding reflections coming from our snow-covered lawn. But as I opened the front door to fetch the Sunday newspaper, the bone-chilling winds reminded me that a 10-degree temperature makes Grand Rapids feel like the Arctic.

After enjoying a cup of hot tea, a couple of the grandkids were prodding me to play outside in the snow with them. Despite the icy cold, I decided that I wouldn’t miss this chance to have some outdoor fun and maybe take a few winter photos too. So I tracked down my trusty ski jacket and soon followed the grandkids outdoors.

Don’t let the winter make you think hibernation. Look for those days when the sun will make an appearance. Think beyond the cold, endure the snow, ignore the clouds. Stay with it and make those winter photos shine. And have fun too!

Written by Arnie Lee



Fight those Winter Blahs

23rd January 2011

January’s weather in West Michigan has reputation for being quite dreary – dark, cloudy and cold. It’s not the kind of weather that inspires me to pick up a camera to capture the moment. In fact, it’s the kind of weather that encourages me to plant myself indoors and sip on piping hot coffee.

Yet by the second week of January I had already sipped a winter’s worth of coffee. It was time that I move from my comfortable lounge chair and face the outdoors no matter what the weather.

I grabbed a simple point-and-shoot camera, donned my scarf and heavy coat, opened the door and carefully waded into the snow and 15 degree blowing wind. But I was on the lookout for photographic possibilities.

When the sun fails to shine you have to use whatever light is available to make your pictures shine. Look to the left, look to the right, look for the untouched, look for the obvious. There’s plenty of possibilities no matter what direction if you let your imagination wander.

These pictures were all taken with less than stellar lighting.

Yes, it’s true that the winter may hide the sun. But you can beat the blahs by showing up outdoors – if only for a few minutes at a time. And don’t leave your camera behind – there’s gold(en opportunities) in that snow!

Written by Arnie Lee

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