It was a nice weekend to get outside. But colder weather is coming, and that threatens to further injure the restaurant industry, already hit hard by the pandemic. Many restaurants are already struggling to hang on and stay open. For many restaurants, outdoor patios have been their lifelines, catering to customers more comfortable dining outside during a pandemic. That is harder to do in the cold-weather months, but apparently not impossible. Many restaurants have gotten creative in their efforts to keep outdoor dining options available. In La Crosse, the Four Sisters restaurant now offers patio dining in a plastic bubble. It zips up and is equipped with heaters and blankets. They’re betting it will be a popular spot, especially once the Rotary Lights are lit. Others could follow suit, although apparently these dining bubbles are in such demand they are hard to get. The city of La Crosse is trying to help. City hall several months ago dumped its regular rules and allowed local restaurants and bars to offer outdoor dining on patios, in parking lots, even parking spaces. That was scheduled to only be allowed through mid-November, but now the city is considering extending that to mid-March for those restaurants that hope to offer a reasonably warm spot for an outdoor meal. There are other options to help local restaurants stay afloat, including curbside pickup and delivery. But if we don’t step up to help our local dining establishments, they could be gone come spring. If you can, make it a point to order from your favorite local restaurant, or even dine in a bubble. Their very existence may depend on it.