The COVID-19 pandemic has forced business owners to get creative, particularly in the hard-hit service industry.

In Victoria, one cafe in Chinatown has taken a novel approach to creating a safe place for customers looking to dine on the patio during the winter months.

QV Cafe and Bakery has been custom-building plastic pods that create a warm, dry dome over guests seated outside the restaurant.

Owner Channing Qiam says the pods are designed to seat up to six people - the maximum party size allowed unter provincial COVID-19 rules. He says the restaurant hopes the pods will help the business stay afloat over the winter by encouraging outdoor dining.

"It's very warm inside," Qiam told CTV News Vancouver Island. "At first I thought we would need some space warmer in there, but I think we should be fine."

The restaurant also has 14 heaters that it plans to set up to help improve the patio experience.

"I think it's the perfect solution, right now, for the winter patio," Qiam said.

The pods may also prove to be a way for the cafe to increase revenue. Qiam said his staff members have created additional pods that are being sold online.

"I know it's very tough right now for all the business owners," he said. "I think as long as we can find any solutions to get through this winter, once the vaccine comes out, we're going to be OK."