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Reopening Restaurants After Shutdown Not That Simple

Mary Altaffer
An employee at Fortina restaurant disinfects a table before the opening of outdoor dining in Stamford. Restaurants began offering service in outdoor dining areas as part of the first phase of Connecticut's statewide reopening.

Some businesses in Connecticut have had just two days to prepare for what is expected to be a profitable Memorial Day weekend. 
Restaurants with outdoor seating and retail malls were able to reopen Wednesday after a two-month shutdown due to the pandemic. 

Michael Bingham, editor of New Haven BIZ, explains.

“Not all or even most restaurants have the ability to offer outdoor seating. If you're a restaurant that owns your own property with your own freestanding building, and you at least have space to set up outdoor dining, but for restaurants in cities like New Haven and Bridgeport and Stamford, mostly don't have yards or patios or dedicated parking areas to set up tables and chairs, so they need to use public sidewalks or public parking spaces on the street. To do that they need permits for municipal governments. Those permits require a fee and an inspection. That takes money. That takes time. Also reopening restaurants that had to restock nearly from scratch. I doubt that even the hungriest patron is going to want to bite into some osso bucco that's been sitting in the fridge for 10 weeks.”

Outdoor museum, zoo and aquarium exhibits are also open in Connecticut this holiday weekend.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.