SUDBURY -- In the spring, many restaurants and cafes in Sudbury had to make room for outdoor seating since COVID-19 meant they could not have guests inside. But with the cooler temperatures, restaurants owners have had to decide the right time to close them for the year.

Twiggs Coffee Roasters has been welcoming people to its patio for several months now, and has been surprised at just how busy it has been in the midst of a global pandemic.

“The patio reopening has saved our business this year. As restaurant owners we were concerned about what was going to happen and we’ve had a beautiful season,” said owner David Russell. “During busy times and busy days, there were often tables not available.”

Fionn MacCool’s is another restaurant in town that says getting to open a patio helped to make it a successful summer season.

“Our sales have been almost on par with last year, which seems crazy because we were full capacity last year, so we’re competing with last year's numbers beautifully,” said Bev Wills, general manager of Fionn MacCool’s.

With the cooler temperatures that have been sticking around lately, restaurants said now is the time to start thinking about when to close down the patios.

“The cooler weather has kept people inside and we’re finding our dining rooms in the evenings are a little busier," said Wills. "We do seat some people on the patios and then within 15 minutes they are coming back inside the dining room ... Traditionally we’ve always shut the patio down Thanksgiving weekend.”

“Our patio season kind of ends when Mother Nature tells us to put it away," said Russell. "I normally like to keep a little bit of furniture out right till when it snows.”

Both restaurants said they have opted out of purchasing heaters for their patios, but are hoping to still get a few sunny days in before they have to close them for the year.