Patio heater, fire pit or a bigger jumper? How to stay warm while socialising outside this winter

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If you live in an area where you aren’t allowed to mix with other people indoors (or just don’t want to), here is an ethical, expert guide to keeping toasty

Indoor socialising is off. Even if it is not specifically proscribed where you live, a once innocuous cup of tea with friends now carries an unappetising tang of risk. The answer is to socialise outside – but how do you do that in a cold climate? No wonder that sales of patio heaters in the UK are rising: Homebase has nearly sold out, and sales on eBay have soared. Mensa Heating UK recently sold 750 infrared heaters in one day. But what about the environmental impact of patio heaters? In Germany, the federal government is offering subsidies to hospitality businesses wishing to buy them, even though they had been banned in some cities, while the French ecology minister has called them an “ecological aberration” and announced a ban from next year. So what is the best way to socialise outside and stay warm?

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