By Laura Haefeli

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – With winter right around the corner, South Lake Tahoe is stepping in to help its restaurant industry survive the cold.

“We realized going into the winter that there would be additional costs for the restaurants specifically to setup outdoor winter operations,” South Lake Tahoe Mayor Pro Tem Tamara Wallace, said.

South Lake’s restaurants have been struggling. Indoor seating is only at 50% capacity and outdoor space is limited. What’s worse, it’s getting cold fast.

“We’ll quickly be in the winter and it’s going to be 20s or 30s,” Chicken in a Barrel owner Don Harvard said.

Havard is nervous it’ll be tough convincing customers to sit outside.

”We’re just trying to make it through this year,” he said.

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So South Lake Tahoe has stepped in to make sure no one’s left out in the cold. The city is offering to refund restaurants up to $5,000 for winterizing their outdoor areas.

“For tables, chairs, fire pits, tenting, anything to help them,” Wallace said.

Local restaurants are grateful for the much-needed financial support.

“The cost of outdoor equipment is not going to be in anybody’s budget. So if we get half of that paid for by the city that gives us hope that we can make it through,” Harvard said.

The funding is already in effect with $85,000 set aside to be distributed. Any restaurant is eligible for the money, the city just asks that you provide receipts and pictures of what you build.

Interested businesses can email the city at Recovery@cityofslt.us for more information.

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