Igloos are covering Oxford picnic tables to support Uptown businesses

Oxford officials are hoping four igloos will help people continue to gather at tables Uptown despite coronavirus concerns.

“They were purchased with CARES Act money and if they hold up well enough, they will be used in the future,” said Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene. “We had a moment where we thought about whether they would be safe with COVID but they have windows and doors. We ask people to leave them open after use to keep the edge off. People have told me they feel about 10 degrees warmer inside.”

The igloos have sanitizer and towels inside with users asked to clean the tables and benches after use to keep them as clean as possible.

She said other communities are using them and some businesses in other cities have them as an outdoor location for customers to use.

“We did our research and read a lot of articles about them, including one snarky one asking when do outside stations become indoor ones,” Greene said. “The public perception, at least, has been in support. People seem to like them. It’s definitely an experiment we are trying.”

Kim Daggy, the executive director of Enjoy Oxford, said she visited on the igloos with several family members soon after they were set up in December.

“I went to Kofenya for a muffin and hot tea and we went to one of the igloos. They’re fun. You feel like you’re in a snow globe. It was a sunny day. It was nice. I enjoyed it,” Daggy said. “It seems like there is always someone in them when I go by. I’ve never been by them when there was not somebody in one of them.”

People are still invited Uptown to try out one of the igloos through the winter.

“We are doing everything we can to make the town more enjoyable,” Greene said. “This is a good use of the CARES money. If there is a silver lining of COVID, it’s creativity. Hopefully, these things will be around for a long time. There is so much fun we can be having when we can get together again.”

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