France is going to ban outdoor heating at restaurants

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Bring a blanket, because the heaters are an “ecological aberration.” Outdoor dining has been popular in France since long before the COVID-19 pandemic, but next year, it may be a bit more difficult to do when the weather turns less-than-ideal. The French government committed to banning outdoor heaters at restaurants and bars as part of a package of measures meant to make the country more environmentally friendly. Read Full Story

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We know it’s cold. But if there are walls and a roof, you’re not outdoor dining

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Think of the virus like cigarette smoke. If where you’re eating would fill up with secondhand smoke if someone at the next table was smoking, then it’s filling up with potentially infected droplets. Restaurants across the country have moved their seating outside to allow for outdoor dining, but not all outdoor dining structures are equal when it comes to COVID-19 safety. In an attempt to keep outdoor dining feasible throughout the winter, some eateries have outfitted their curbside dining settings with walls—and even roofs —making them more indoors than outdoors, and increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. Read Full Story

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France is banning any short flight that can be replaced by a train trip

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If you can get there within 180 minutes on the train, you won’t be able to fly. It takes around two hours to take a train from Paris to the city of Lyon. That train ride has a far smaller carbon footprint than flying between the cities—and now the French government plans to ban the flights, along with other short routes that take 2.5 hours or less by train, to shrink the country’s transportation emissions. Read Full Story

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Emissions dropped during COVID-19. Here’s what cities can do to keep them from rising

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It’s time to double down on electric vehicles. COVID-19 upended our daily lives and shifted our relationship to transportation, although we don’t yet know how trends that started during the pandemic will play out. Will people forsake public transit for cars? Will street closures continue, creating more permanent space for walking, biking, and outdoor restaurants? Will work-from-home continue to be the norm, cutting down on commuting hours—and emissions—in the process? Read Full Story

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These 3 backyard speakers can amp up any outdoor occasion

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Light up, cool down, and crank up the volume with these smart outdoor speakers. Feeling nostalgic for the laid-back summer joy of outdoor bars, restaurants, and hangouts? We are, too. But with just a few products, we bet you can make that perfect ~vibey~ spot in your own backyard. Our first recommendation is a firepit . Second, a delectable spread of food and bev. Third, some great tunes. While we can’t cater to your specific playlist preferences, we can recommend a few high-end outdoor speakers that can bring music to your ears. These game changers will add a rich auditory experience to your next adventure outside—whether it’s a backyard campout, an outdoor movie night, or just an al fresco dinner at home. Read Full Story

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These adaptable pods could make you love outdoor dining year-round

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As Chicago-based architects and designers, we’re well aware that outdoor dining won’t be feasible for large swaths of the U.S. come winter. So we came up with a simple design solution. In cities all over the country, streets and sidewalks have become outdoor dining rooms, providing a welcome break from the realities of quarantine. But what happens to restaurants when the seasons change to fall and winter? In many areas of the country—including Chicago, where our newest architecture studio is based—September and October will usher in colder temperatures. While heaters can extend the season, outdoor dining from December to April would be ill-advised. Read Full Story

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Indoor vs. outdoor dining in the COVID era: What restaurant patrons say they’re comfortable with

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A new survey of U.S. adults found that 25% will not feel comfortable dining until a vaccine becomes available. New Jersey just became the latest state to allow bars and restaurants to reopen their indoor dining sections, but that doesn’t mean patrons will actually show up. As fall approaches, the weather gets cooler, and states face potential new outbreaks in their fight against COVID-19, a big question for restaurant owners is whether diners will feel safe enough to venture indoors for a bit to eat. Read Full Story

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