TO ALLOW SOME INDOOR DINING BEGINNING JUNE 3
Restaurants Renew Promise to Use Unique Precautions That Will Keep Employees & Customers Safe Indoors
HARTFORD, CONN. -- Today more than 130 local business and association leaders wrote to Gov. Lamont asking that current plans to restrict restaurants to outdoor-only dining be updated to allow for some restricted indoor dining as other businesses are allowed to begin serving customers indoors. The signees worry that, without updates to the policy, additional restaurants are likely to go out of business as outdoor-only sales will not be enough to sustain them in the coming weeks and months. Local restaurants are acknowledging that opening restaurants requires added precautions, and have offered specific steps they will take to keep employees and customers safe indoors.
The more than 130 signees represent businesses that reside or operate in towns and cities across Connecticut, spanning numerous industries that support and interact with the restaurant industry in different ways, including farming, lodging, tourism, distribution, legal, and more. These businesses and associations collectively employ and represent thousands of people across the state. Together, they are asking the Governor to commit to a June 3rd opening for indoor dining at 50 percent capacity of normal operations. This date would be a full two weeks later than other businesses are currently slated to begin indoor service.
“We believe that limited, safe indoor dining is possible,” said the business owners. “As malls, hair salons and others are allowed to gradually begin indoor service, as they should be, it makes sense restaurants would also be allowed some limited indoor service.”
Said Scott Dolch, Executive Director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, “Governor Lamont is working hard to lead our state through this crisis, and he’s kept an open door to our industry. We hope the proposed compromises we’ve put forward will be acceptable to him and his team, and that Connecticut’s local restaurant industry and the 160,000 people it employs will be protected and helped during this incredibly difficult period.”
Dolch said that restaurant owners understand that, since patrons need to temporarily remove their masks to eat, added precautions must be taken for indoor dining. Said Dolch, “It’s absolutely true that restaurants, like every type of business, present unique challenges. That’s why we’ve laid out specific steps that restaurants can take above and beyond what will be seen in many other indoor businesses to control the environment and keep it safe. Simply put, this will be a very different dining experience from what anyone is used to in the past.”
The extra steps Connecticut restaurants will take include:
- Limited overall restaurant capacity (50 percent to start) to allow for expanded distance between tables
- Absolutely no physical contact with staff
- No standing room or bar seating
- Added use of gloves and masks
- More intensive cleaning between customer interactions
- Implementing new technology for menus and payment to allow for less indirect contact
- Eliminating shared-use tabletop accompaniments (menus, condiments, etc.)
- Encouraging older adults and those with preexisting conditions not to dine indoors, and continuing to offer robust takeout and curbside options for all patrons
The full letter to Governor Lamont can be read here.