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City of Norfolk delivers free heaters to restaurants

The Open Norfolk program aims to help restaurants remain open in the COVID-19 pandemic. These free heaters open up outdoor tables to continued business.

NORFOLK, Va. — Temperatures are cooling, but locally-owned restaurants are getting help keeping seats warm.

The City of Norfolk delivered new heaters to 27 eateries this week – at no cost. This is part of the city’s Open Norfolk program to support restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Each establishment received one to four heaters.

City spokesperson Lori Crouch said the city provided the service through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.

“We are very happy to use these to help heat our patio and combat the elements as we head into winter,” said Malia McGee, co-owner of Four Eleven York Street.  

McGee’s restaurant received four heaters Wednesday, which she says will allow her to offer additional patio seating. The business has relied heavily on outdoor dining during the pandemic.

“With the social distancing guidelines, our seating went down from 12 tables to four inside,” she said.

As of November 18, 85 business owners requested heaters through the Open Norfolk program. Crouch said there will be another shipment of heaters, and restaurants that submitted requests before the end of November should receive them. 

She also said most of the heaters dispersed this week went to small, minority and women-owned restaurants.

McGee, who co-owns the establishment with her husband, said the heaters came right on time for the holiday.

Anyone with questions about the Open Norfolk program can visit its website.

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