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Charlotte restaurant offers Igloo tables for outdoor dining amid pandemic

A NoDa restaurant is making another pandemic-pivot: offering patrons a seat in their own little bubble, to stay warm and socially distant.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Goodyear House is serving up what some say is a good idea as the pandemic continues. The nearly year-old restaurant is offering some patrons the ultimate 2020 dining experience: eating inside of an igloo, with a personal heater included. 

They're made of plastic and look like giant igloos that cover picnic tables in the backyard and patio area at The Goodyear House in Charlotte's NoDa neighborhood.

"We're doing our part to control it (the coronavirus pandemic)," said Sean Potter, the restaurant's general manager. 

There are currently four of the igloos that cost the restaurant about $1,400 each.

"Everything that we do is focused around how can we navigate the pandemic," Potter added.

The igloos give each family or group of patrons their own personal bubble to dine in. The addition came after several safety changes at the restaurant amid the pandemic. 

Because of restrictions, nearly 70% of the restaurant's business is forced outdoors, and the cooler temperatures are already here to stay. 

The Goodyear House enforces masks, social distancing, and sanitizing, including inside the new igloos, too. 

"We want to make sure that we're still able to operate as a business, but operate safely," Potter said. 

Patrons Jasmine Thomas and Amber Williams tried one out on a date night on Tuesday. 

"I love it, especially for right now," Williams said. 

"I think this is definitely a safer route," added Thomas. 

Soon, the igloos will cost $25 per reservation, with the proceeds going to charities in the Charlotte area.

There's a 15-minute cleaning process that happens between each party to disinfect the space and the table. Flaps are opened to let the igloos air out as an antibacterial spray is released inside.

"The more that you can socially distance the better, and what's more socially distant than eating in a bubble," Potter said. 

Potter said he is on a waiting list to buy additional igloos since they are sold out. He plans to add more as the backyard space behind the restaurant expands according to their plans.