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Connecticut Restaurants, Stores Open Wednesday, With Restrictions

Restaurant Worker Personal Protective Equipment
Charles Krupa
A masked and gloved waitress takes a lunch order in Manchester, N.H. New Hampshire restaurants reopened for outdoor table service on Monday. Connecticut restaurants will do the same starting Wednesday.

Some restaurants and retail stores in Connecticut will open Wednesday for the first time in months.

Steve Bayusik, operations manager for three restaurants in Fairfield and New Haven, says they’re shifting to single-use menus, and all tables are reservation-only.

“We’re not out of the woods, and we’re still going to be cautious. You know, restaurants have a reputation for cleanliness and sanitation, so we’ve adapted.”

Only outdoor areas like patios can open, but indoor seating and bars are still off limits. And restaurants have to allow at least six feet of social distancing between each table. Customers can dine without a mask, but must have one on to use the restroom.

On Monday Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order to allow restaurants to sell mixed drinks to go. Last week more than 130 restaurant owners asked Lamont to begin allowing indoor dining in early June.

Meanwhile, retails stores have to operate at half-capacity and be frequently sanitized. Employees have to wear masks and other protective gear. Check-out areas must have plexiglass dividers.

Tony Sheridan is president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, which includes towns like Mystic that depend heavily on tourist spending in the summer. He says retailers are cautiously optimistic that customers will return.

“A lot of it is going to be dependent upon confidence. If the customer or the visitor feels they’re safe when they come in a store, and the store has made every effort to comply with the governor’s recommendations, they’ll come.”

Stores also have to take steps to encourage social distancing, including modifying entrances and exits to flow in a single direction only.

Outdoor recreation, such as mini-golf, bike rentals and outdoor zoo and museum exhibits, can also resume Wednesday. 

Read the latest on WSHU’s coronavirus coverage here.

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Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.
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