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Buffalo restaurants offering outdoor dining may use propane heaters

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Posted at 10:15 AM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 10:15:44-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Restaurants have turned to outdoor dining as a way to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic and soon weather will be the latest obstacle they face.

In anticipation of the colder weather making its return to Western New York, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Delaware District Council Member Joel Feroleto announced Wednesday restaurants offering outdoor dining can utilize propane heaters as a way to extend the outdoor dining season.

Businesses can use the portable propane heaters on sidewalks, parking lots and patios as long as the areas are not enclosed which the city defines as "a structure with walls and a roof."

"Spaces with roofs made of metal or other non-combustible material may utilize portable heaters so long as there are no walls enclosing the space. Roofing made with canvas, awning or other combustible material are not acceptable," a release from the city says.

The businesses must contact the City of Buffalo Office of Fire Prevention at (716) 851-5333 ext. 750 to obtain a permit for the heaters.

“The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19," said Feroleto. "We need to support our local restaurants now more than ever. Permitting outdoor heaters will give restaurants the ability to accommodate more guests and a better chance of surviving the pandemic."