When the temperature dropped and COVID cases started rising, restaurants faced yet another set of challenges. How do you provide an environment in which diners feel safe eating out? Old Ox Brewery looked at various ways to help customers to enjoy their dining experience and decided to set up greenhouses on their patio at 14 S. Madison. “We felt heated greenhouses were the best way to socially distance our customers while creating a comfortable and easy-to-sanitized environment that takes advantage of the sun’s warmth,” says Old Ox President Chris Burns. The greenhouses, which Old Ox calls Warming Houses, can warm up to over 80 degrees when it’s 30-40 degrees outside. Propane heaters help boost temperatures on cloudy days. Feedback from customers has been positive. They appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy a beer and appetizers, lunch or dinner. The warming houses let in the light and are warm enough to allow customers to shed their coats. The Old Ox Brewery patio at has six 6×8’ warming houses, which seat four to five guests each. Reservations can be made in two-hour increments and require a $50 minimum spend. Warming Houses can be reserved on Open Table or by calling the brewery. Old Ox took advantage of a grant from the Town of Middleburg in partnership with the Middleburg Business and Professional Association, to purchase the warming houses and heaters. “We’re very grateful to the Town of Middleburg, MBPA and all of our guests for helping us get through these challenging times,” says Burns.