BOSTON (WHDH) - When it’s below freezing, not even the heat lamps will bring hardy New Englanders to outdoor dining tables.

“I think this is the most challenging winter we’ve ever seen,” Urban Hospitality owner Chris Coombs said.

On one of the first cold days of the season, chairs were empty outside his Back Bay French eatery.

He is just one of many bracing for a tough season ahead as temperatures drop and COVID-19 cases rise.

“Many have been laid off. Many more are going to continue to be laid off as we see further restriction and reduction of business,” he said. “But we all have to get through this together and hopefully there will still be some kind of restaurant business on the other side of this.”

Come Dec. 1, city restaurants will not be able to have tables set up along public sidewalks and parking lots, leaving some business owners like restaurateur Frank DePasquale worried.

“To tell you the truth, I’m a little scared,” he said. “The weather is changing and there goes our outside seating, and honestly, I see tough times.”

DePasquale owns several restaurants on Hanover Street and said he and other business owners are looking to the government to step up with more financial aid.

“We paid a lot of expenses for all the plexiglass that we bought and all the outside furniture and the barricades and this, to make it look good. And we’ve kept this neighborhood very clean with power washing,” DePasquale said. “It’s about time we get some more PPP money to get us by just ’til we get this vaccine.”

Until a vaccine is approved and distributed, Coombs and DePasquale are hoping customers keep them afloat in what could be a long and dark winter.

“We’re here, we’re open, and we’re begging for your business,” DePasquale said. “We hope to survive this.”

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