The City of Lone Tree has obtained 40 bubble-like pop-up “igloo” structures for businesses to utilize to increase their outdoor capacity. While any business can request one, as of Nov. 11 all the …
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The City of Lone Tree has obtained 40 bubble-like pop-up “igloo” structures for businesses to utilize to increase their outdoor capacity. While any business can request one, as of Nov. 11 all the requests had come from restaurants.
The city’s economic development department purchased the “igloos” from Gardenigloo USA in early November, just as COVID-19 cases spiked in Douglas County. The City of Lone Tree, nearing the Dec. 30 deadline for spending federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, spent more than $44,000 on the igloos, roughly $1,100 per unit.
The city asked local business owners to request an igloo, and every business that requested an igloo received one, according to Lone Tree Economic Development Director Jeff Holwell. As of Nov. 11, all but three units had been reserved by local restaurants.
“In the big picture, we are looking for ways to support our business community,” Holwell said. “The restaurants have been hit particularly hard by public health orders. We have a lot of restaurants, and we wanted to find ways to support their needs when winter was on its way.”
Holwell hopes to see the igloos in use by Thanksgiving.
Holwell led the effort to bring the units to Lone Tree with the purpose of improving outdoor seating capacity. Holwell believes the uniquely designed bubbles will help attract curious patrons to try a particular restaurant just for the experience of dining in an igloo.
“They’re kind of whimsical,” Holwell said. “The presence of them would get people excited.”
Supplies for outdoor dining structures are low throughout the country, said Holwell, who expressed gratitude that Lone Tree was able to secure the igloos before winter.
Business owners will decorate them and supply heat, when necessary. The transparent structures retain heat from sunlight well, making them ideal for use in Colorado, Holwell said.
Most businesses that requested an igloo will receive more than one, Holwell said.
The Gardenigloo USA Wintergarden structures are 12 feet in diameter and seven feet tall with a base area of 107 square feet, according to the company’s website, GardenIglooUSA.com. The igloos can fit about eight people comfortably. Each igloo is wind- and water-resistant with a maximum snow load capacity of 90 pounds. Assembly takes about two hours with two people. The igloos are made of non-toxic soft transparent polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — a recyclable plastic polymer — and can withstand temperatures of 4 degrees below zero.
The three-day rolling average of positive COVID-19 cases reached 186 on Nov. 9, according to Tri-County Health Department data, a new high for Douglas County.
Tri-County Health uses a three-tiered, green-yellow-red framework to determine the level of restrictions that should be imposed on each county based on positive COVID-19 case rates. The three tiers, “Protect Your Neighbors,” “Safer at Home” and “Stay at Home,” indicate the severity of community spread of COVID-19. Douglas County remained at “Safer at Home” Level 2 as of Nov. 11, limiting restaurant capacity to 50% per room up to 50. Non-critical retail is also limited to 50% capacity.
Douglas County could soon join Adams County at “Safer at Home” Level 3, which limits restaurant and non-critical retail capacity to 25%. The step after that is “Stay at Home,” recommending a complete shutdown except for critical businesses. Douglas County obtained an exemption from Gov. Jared Polis’ statewide stay-at-home order in May, allowing restaurants, gyms and places of worship to reopen despite the order.
The mall at Park Meadows still operates under its specially granted variance and officials do not plan on slowing down through the holiday shopping season.
Holwell said he could see the igloos being used year-round. The bottom line, Holwell said, is that the igloos will help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“They serve a lot of purposes,” Holwell said, noting that any business could request one. “They are a fun way to help our restaurant community.”
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