Spartanburg restaurants see benefits from outdoor tents in cold weather

Local News

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Downtown Spartanburg has added tents to their outdoor dining on Morgan Square.

With the colder weather, and the virus, we wanted to see if this has been successful for local businesses.

“We started this thing back in March. It’s been successful all summer. It’s just brought so many people downtown–people who want to get out and have a good time without having to worry about being stuck inside,” Lt. Lee Raines, with the Spartanburg Police Department, said.

Lt. Raines is one of the people who was behind shutting down Morgan Square back when the pandemic first started to allow downtown restaurants to move tables into the roadway and expand their dining options.

“I don’t think I had planned for it to be closed for as long as it has been, but it’s been closed because it’s been so successful,” Lt. Raines said. “People love coming downtown and they love sitting outside.”

A couple of weeks ago, because of the colder weather, he, along with city leaders and restaurant owners, decided to bring tents out to keep it going, and they’re planning to put heaters out as well.

“I was like ‘Oh no, it’s going to get cold. People aren’t going to want to sit outside.’ Then, this came about and I thought ‘Awesome. We’re going to be able to continue some of that business that’s helped all of the local businesses downtown that are struggling because of the pandemic,'” said Madison Cummings with Delaney’s Irish Pub.

“I think it’s an awesome idea,” Raines said. “It’s actually an attraction for people to come downtown.”

He’s not wrong. Downtown restaurants say they’ve noticed a positive impact.

“There’s a lot of traffic out here – really all afternoon and especially on the weekends – all day. And at night, especially if we have music, that’s always nice,” Cummings said.

Those who live in Spartanburg and visit downtown often agreed it’s a nice, safe touch.

“COVID is going around and so I think I would sit outside, just for precaution,” said Bridget Phillips.

“I actually think it might be a good thing for getting together with people,” Monica Greer added. “Definitely for social distancing.”

And Lt. Raines told 7 News they’re working on making it feel even safer for folks.

“We want to add some. Add another tent and open it up. Just move things around to get more people involved to come outside and sit,” he said.

“Don’t be scared,” Cummings said. “Come out and enjoy yourself and have a place where you can spend time and do the things that you want to do, but not be in fear.”

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