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Lamont Expands Outdoor Dining In Connecticut Until April 2022

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Ted S. Warren
/
AP

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Wednesday a bipartisan measure to relax outdoor dining restrictions statewide until April 2022.

At the bill signing at Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern in Simsbury, Lamont said the measures would help in the recovery of restaurants and bars hit hard by the pandemic.

“We wanted the restaurants to open. We wanted the restaurants to open safely,” Lamont said. “So while there was some urgency to get things going faster, or some sense that maybe we were going too fast, it was, to some degree, determined by people who wanted to get back to a new normal, and they wanted to do it safely.”

He was joined by state lawmakers, chef and owner of Millwright’s Restaurant Terry Anderson, and Scott Dolch, the executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association.

“We owe a lot to Governor Lamont for, back on May 13 of 2020, for passing the executive order to allow expanded outdoor dining. That saved, I know we’ve lost permanently over 600 restaurants in our state, but we know that that saved hundreds of restaurants,” Dolch said.

Restaurant owners hope that the continued loosening of restrictions on outdoor dining will help their businesses stay afloat amid the pandemic.

The law will give cities and towns the ability to expedite changes to their zoning rules to expand the availability of outdoor dining and retail activity. While the legislation is in effect until March 31, 2022, Lamont envisions some of these changes being permanent.

“Let’s go through and see what we’ve learned from this damn COVID crisis, and see how we can make some of these things permanent, and see how big a difference we can make,” Lamont said.

Lamont said a permanent change would require unity. “And I like that word bipartisan. When we can work together, we can do amazing things as a state,” he said.