NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — These days Laura Beckham keeps very busy making cakes at Berry’s Ice Cream & Candy Bar.
While the cake business is booming for her, the candy bar part of this downtown New London business is on hold during the pandemic. Instead, she’s offering curbside pick up for cake and ice cream.
“They tell me what color car they’re in and we go and drop it off,” said Beckham.
Inside the shop, six-foot markings are already on the floor along with signs explaining what the new rules will be.
“As soon as this can open and people can use their social distancing to make their way to the patio, that’s game on,” said Beckham. “We’re ready.”
Beckham was among several restaurant owners in New London who logged on to a Zoom conference call with the city.
“What ideas you have, what concerns you all confront together,” Mayor Michael Passero told the restaurant owners during the Zoom call.
The city is hoping to help make reopening restaurants as easy as possible.
“What do we need to do to address some of the approval process, the permitting process,” asked Felix Reyes, New London’s Director of Economic Development and Planning, who was also on the conference call.
“My specific question and concern was that the curbside ordering and takeout was not going to be eliminated when we have the opportunity to open outdoor seating,” said Beckham.
She, along with other downtown restaurants, does have patio seating which she can reopen May 20, if coronavirus hospitalizations continue to decline.
“There’s a lot of room for social distancing out there,” said Beckham.
Berry’s has outdoor access to the patio, so Beckham is hoping to keep the outdoor dining separate from the takeout she already established at the front of the shop.
There are a lot of details that still need to be worked out. She may start off by only using the patio’s outdoor entrance with one person serving customers outside and manning the gate.
“A person can have very strict control over who’s coming in and where they’re seating,” explained Beckham.
For now, she is working alone and is hoping to hire some staff back soon.