HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– So far, Governor Ned Lamont is resisting calls by a group of doctors to stop indoor dining at restaurants. Meanwhile, Connecticut restaurant owners are taking steps to save their businesses as we ride this second wave of COVID-19 cases.
The restaurant industry has arguably suffered the most through the pandemic and the restrictions that have come with it.
“There’s a lot of restaurants right now that even with loans and the SBA, eventually that has to be paid back and we don’t know when we’ll be able to recover and be able to pay that back,” said Gina Luari, owner, The Place To Be.
Now the Connecticut Restaurant Association is asking for help, urging the state to keep indoor dining open. They’re also looking for state grant funding, and for help bolstering consumer confidence.
“I mean right now the numbers are so low, it’s not just me, it’s all restaurants. The inside dining numbers are so low, and of course outside is off the table now because it’s so cold right, so yeah it’s a tough decision,” said Chris Prosperi, Metro Bis.
“This is the toughest time right now. This winter, we don’t have any federal stimulus that’s there that’s helping these businesses. We’ve lost outdoor dining, we’re in a very restricted capacity inside,” said Scott Dolch, CT Restaurant Association.
It’s hit downtown Hartford especially hard. Earlier this week Trumbull Kitchen made the difficult decision to shut it doors until the Spring.
“If we didn’t close now, there might not be the opportunity to open in the Spring. If we do it now and preserve our capital and wait until things pick up downtown, when consumer confidence is back, we’ll be much better off,” said Steve Abrams, Max Restaurant Group.
That’s exactly what the restaurant association hopes accomplish in this new #SaveCTresraurants campaign.
That’s one part of the campaign, that letter to the governor and other legislators. But the other part is for consumers. They’re urging to take to social media show how they are supporting their favorite local restaurants.
In these upcoming winter months, these restaurants will rely on takeout, gift card purchases, and now this extra level of customer support.
“I hope people are encouraged to tell the story that matters to them about our industry and help us get through this,” said Dolch.