CHANDLER, Ariz. - The ongoing and worsening COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on bars and restaurants, but some businesses in Downtown Chandler looked to other ways to be able to serve guests, which they now say is paying off.
"When people are sitting out of work, you feel that, and it’s important to try and help these people out," said Dale Evans, a contractor with Jo-Ray Enterprises.
Evans has helped build many of the bars and restaurants in Downtown Chandler. When the pandemic hit, he saw some were in trouble, and he wanted to help.
"I drew up a plan of what we could do, what kind of materials we would use, and sat with the City of Chandler and we worked out what they wanted, what kind of look they were OK with on the streets," said Evans.
The end result is a design for outdoor patios that are similar in structure, but customized to each business.
Gavin Jacobs, who owns The Brickyard in Downtown Chandler, was the first to get a patio built. The Brickyard's was reduced from 100% to just 355 when he was able to re-open.
Jacobs says the patio has helped save his business by nearly doubling his capacity.
"We’ve been able to hire two more and retain two more servers. We were able to hire a new chef. I brought on another hostess," said Jacobs. "We’ve been turning about 100 tables per week off of this patio deck. It’s brought us from about 35% capacity with the square footage were now at, to about 75$ that we were before."
Evans and his team have now built several patios in the area. He says they're not only helping to save these bars and restaurants, but his own company and employees.
"We had two contracts to build new restaurants at the beginning of the pandemic, and both of those fell out because the investors weren’t willing to do that, so that was a big hit for us, and you’re scrambling around trying to keep your guys and their families fed," said Evans.
Officials with the City of Chandler will allow for outdoor spaces until the end of May. If the pandemic is still ongoing by that point, that date can be adjusted.