ABC6: Federal Hill uses grant money for heaters to keep dining outside | Rhode Island Commerce

Originally appearing:
By: Brittany Comak
Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – If you want to continue to frequent your favorite Italian eateries as it gets colder, but don’t feel comfortable sitting inside, things will be heating up on Federal Hill starting Friday night, thanks to the Take It Outside initiative.

The Federal Hill Commerce Association announced Friday they’ll be handing out more than 100 patio heaters, in the hopes of extending the outdoor dining season and giving much needed relief to local restaurants.

It’s all part of the Take It Outside grant from the state.

“I’m happy to say, by the end of tonight Federal Hill is going to be a lot warmer,” said Rick Simone of the Federal Hill Commerce Association.

The Take It Outside initiative, which focuses on businesses moving their operations outdoors to prevent the spread of Covid-19, provided $125,000 to the Federal Hill Commerce Association for the heaters.

“To make sure that the customers are comfortable throughout the winter time is going to be very important for us as well,” said Manager at Opa Francois Karam. “So this is going to be a very big help for us.”

The commerce association also used the grant to partner with two Rhode Island businesses to distribute blankets and hand sanitizer to the restaurants.

“As the weather is turning cold, we just need to figure out a way to keep people warm and comfortable and as happy as they can,” said Owner at Bacco Armando Bisceglia.

Customers said Friday night that these added things will keep them eating outside in the cold weather for longer than usual.

“It doesn’t even feel like it’s October right now, honestly,” said diner Briana Stegall. Because we’re right next to this lamp and it feels really good.”

“We’ll definitely continue to be eating outside as long as we can, as long as these are on and as long as we’re warm enough then we’ll definitely be outside,” said diner Ashley Maclea.

Simone said he hopes these things will keep diners coming to eat outdoors for at least the next six to eight weeks.