Two St. Paul restaurants are opening their windows to help keep diners safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As some restaurants make the decision to close for winter amid the pandemic, others, like W.A. Frost and the University Club of St. Paul are getting creative to keep customers coming in.
Both restaurants have installed operable windows in the dining areas, which will be "cracked open" during business hours to bring in fresh air, a news release says.
The Minnesota Department of Health's (MDH) website has indoor air considerations amid the pandemic, which says that bringing in fresh outdoor air and having windows and doors open can lower the number of people infected with COVID-19 so long as they practice other steps to control and stop the infection, such as social distancing, wearing a face mask and washing their hands.
The strategy, called "operable windows," is combined with upgrades the restaurants made to their ventilation systems to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading through the air.
"Fresh air complements the improvements we’ve made to our ventilation systems and makes us even more confident that we’re doing everything we can to provide a safe, healthy environment for our guests," Stephanie Laitala-Rupp, president of Commonwealth Properties – the parent company to the two restaurants – said.
But it's winter, I hear you say? Well, Commonwealth Properties said it shouldn't be too bad, though recommends that diners take precautions.
“Fresh air just gushes in, but the flow of cold air will be so modest as to be hardly noticeable,” Laitala-Rupp said. “Even so, guests may want to add an extra layer of clothing when coming for dinner, just to be safe. It is sweater weather after all!”
W.A. Frost and Company, at 374 Selby Ave., is open Tuesday-Saturday evenings for patio and indoor dining. The University Club is open for dining on Friday and Saturday evenings (find out how to join the club here).
“We know that it’s going to be a difficult season, especially as the coronavirus numbers are trending in the wrong direction. But we can offer people a safe way to escape house confinement and enjoy a few hours in a pleasant environment," Laitala-Rupp said.
As of Sunday, Nov. 1, 2,217 new cases and 18 new deaths were reported, bringing the total to 150,672 lab-confirmed cases and 2,475 deaths.