Nonna's Garden Courtesy of Bar Tulia

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Restaurants Are Adding Outdoor Dining In Light of Social Distancing

Al fresco mania has brought on a rush of creative changes for the greater good.

Bigger, wider and more shaded outdoor dining spaces are popping up around Southwest Florida as restaurants continue to adjust to life in the wake of the coronavirus.

Since sunlight and heat have been proven to thwart the crown-covered microbes from taking hold on surfaces, the risk level for socially distant dining outside gives a new dimension to the great outdoors.

Here are a few highlights:

Chef Vincenzo Betulia debuted Nonna’s Garden, a clever transformation of a nearby parking lot around the corner from Bar Tulia, adding an oasis of tables to the 48-seat gastropub. “The goal was actually to give opportunity to my staff to come back to work since they were forced to stay home for nearly three months. We currently have the lot for two months and can continue through the summer if we wish to,” Betulia says.

Trail Café in North Naples, a breakfast and lunch stalwart with a cozy interior, figured out a way to do socially distant dining despite its size as well—by erecting a giant tent in the front parking lot.

Harvest & Wisdom, a fine-dining haven of farm-to-table cuisine that sources much of its produce from its on-site garden in Bonita Springs, decided to not just to bring the garden to the table but to bring tables to the garden. Since it reopened in May, its lawn is now dotted with umbrella-shaded seats in addition to its terrace.

The same sense of innovation has been seen at Captiva’s Sunshine Seafood Café and Wine Bar, where it extended its two outdoor dining pavilions when it reopened in May to be able to accommodate more diners for sultry summer nights near the sea.