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— Pop-up outdoor dining experiences are on the rise as restaurants continue to navigate through the pandemic.

With cold winter weather on its way to the Triangle, one Durham business has gotten creative to keep customers coming.

Unscripted Hotel has redone its popular rooftop in Durham especially for social distance. Small groups can gather inside an ‘igloo’ to stay safe. The hotel hopes the winter wonderland experience will draw customers during the winter months.

“Having this piece, having the igloos, has really kind of helped keep us more afloat,” said Matthew Whiteheart, Unscripted general manager.

The business took a hit during the pandemic but, like most, has learned how to pivot with creativity.

“That’s the fun thing about hospitality, it’s always changing and you’re finding the next thing that you can do to make people still come out,” said Whiteheart.

The six igloos spread out on the patio are meant to isolate guests from other groups while also keeping them warm. They can fit up to 10 people safely and have windows for air ventilation.

“We allow 30 minutes in between each igloo transition. We sanitize them. We have electrostatic sprayers. We’re wearing masks. All those types of things we have taken to heart to make sure we’re doing this right,” added Whiteheart.

With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, some who are just learning about this concept are excited to see what it will bring to the area.

“That’s an excellent idea. I would love that because sometimes you, you’ve been quarantined with people you trust and maybe you guys are all feeling comfortable, but you still want to go out and have a unique dining experience,” said Nicki Allen, who lives in Durham.

“It’s another way to contribute back to getting people out in the community, keeping Durham continuing to have people eat, drink and be successful,” added Whiteheart.

The business began launching the igloos about a month ago, just a few at a time.

They are all available now for use until March of next year.

The igloos can be reserved online. Guests will be asked to review and follow all CDC guidelines when visiting the hotel.

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