Restaurants without patios are getting help from Henrico to establish outdoor dining areas

Local News

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Most of the state is currently operating under Phase One guidelines that allow restaurants with outdoor seating to welcome customers back — but what about restaurants that didn’t already have that capacity?

Henrico County has helped expedite opening outdoor seating for businesses who needed help establishing temporary dining areas with a tent or other structure that is allowed under Phase One guidelines by waiving permit fees associated with outdoor dining.

A big tent in a parking lot is currently the new normal for dining at The Grapevine Restaurant, which has become a reality due to the help of Henrico County.

Mitchell Trak, the General Manager of The Grapevine, said they immediately took the help they could get.

“All aspects of the county really have been helpful trying to expedite things and help small business reopen in any way possible,” Trak said.

Mitchell Trak, General Manager of The Grapevine, said they immediately took the help they could get.

Not having a patio before the pandemic has caused the Trak family to have to learn how to operate under new guidelines.

“We rented the tent from party perfect — as well as the tables, chairs, etc. Keeping it clean and safe and sanitized. Again, all the tables are apart 6-7 feet,” Trak said.

The Grapevine Restaurant’s outdoor seating rule-set

Customers like Sam and Charles, who were dining while 8News was around, didn’t seem to mind the change.

“This is our first time out,” Sam said. “He asked me if my hamburger was good and I told him it wouldn’t have to be. This is the first store-bought hamburger in two months. We’re like everyone else — it’s just a real pleasure to get back out.”

Sam and Charles eat lunch together every couple of weeks, and this is the first time since the pandemic began that they could resume their tradition

Trak encourages those who have the space to try to utilize the county’s help.

“It was sad for a while. It just wasn’t motivating. A happy feeling right now. Big time,” Trak said.

The owners of The Grapevine said they will continue to monitor Governor Northam’s guidelines as Virginia continues the reopening process.

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