Restaurants giving customers free blankets to keep outdoor dining going

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — It’s BYOB at a lot more restaurants these days — bring your own blanket, that is.

But if you forget to bring yours when dining outside, don’t worry. Now some restaurants are providing them for free, and letting customers keep them.

“When we came up and we saw the blankets and the heaters, we knew we made the right decision because it’s just that little extra,” said Krista Bernadt, a diner from Marlborough. “They do such a great job here, and we really want to support them.”

That support is why management at Persimmon in Providence thinks the blankets will make a difference.

“We have about 90, which is pretty great,” said Kevin O’Connor, the restaurant’s dining room manager. “Definitely a big help, especially now that it’s finally getting into that sweater weather.”

The Rhode Island Hospitality Association partnered with Ocean State Job Lot to distribute 12,000 blankets, 370 outdoor heaters, hand warmers and PPE to restaurants that applied to participate.

“For two straight days, we had pickups all day, all morning, into the afternoon,” said Rhode Island Hospitality Association President Dale Venturini. “So that they could extend their season, because right now, every day counts.”

And she says the economy is counting on restaurants to do well.

“We are just asking the public to save their special restaurant,” Venturini said. “Restaurants bring people, people bring life, people and life bring safety. So you’ll see restaurants are the driving force behind the economy.”

She adds other states are launching programs inspired by the BYOBlanket initiative here. And she says there’s been so much demand, they may open it up to more restaurants soon.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island