Igloos offer cozy, socially distant and warm dining experience outside

Posted at 4:17 AM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 06:14:14-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— People are looking for new ways to get out safely during the pandemic. As the weather gets colder, it becomes a little harder, but that’s not stopping some businesses from finding creative ways to heat things up.

Caitlin Marais says any place she can keep warm while staying socially distant is going to be at the top of her list as temperatures dip.

“Especially working remote — I’m indoors a lot, so any chance I can get to go out, eat, drink— any activity, I actually now find myself choosing to do so,” she said.

A big fire pit will certainly keep guests warm, and so will a personal heater inside your very own igloo.

The plastic zipper-lined version of igloos at Sky Bar in Virginia Beach are returning for a second year so guests can get cozy inside their very own space outside.

“There are obviously a lot of ‘oohs' and 'ahhs’ and, ‘This is so cool’ and a lot of selfies being taken,” said Warren Zinn, Director of Food and Beverage at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel.

Igloos are reserved online for up to four guests to enjoy a Bluetooth speaker, heater and a cozy couch with food and drink service.

Each igloo is sprayed with a disinfectant solution after every use. Zinn believes the igloos are a safer option than the traditional dining experiences because servers take orders from outside the closed igloo to interact less with guests. They also leave food and beverages on a small table closest to the igloo opening so they don’t have to come all the way inside the bubble.

“When you’re in a restaurant, you’re obviously occupying the same air space as everybody else in the space,” said Zinn. “And so, you’re being exposed to greater number of people, whereas in the igloo, it’s just yourself and the people you’ve chosen to spend the evening with.”

Related: Is a restaurant’s outdoor dining tent COVID-safe?

While some may be skeptical, restaurant goers like Marais say they want more safe options with winter around the corner.

“A lot of the rooftop bars have been doing it— adapting with the igloos, the robes, the heaters,” explained Marais. “I’m hoping the other restaurants catch on to that because it does make it more fun and make it unique to that kind of environment that restaurant that bar.”

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