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Norwich, New London to remain in Phase 3 to help restaurants despite uptick of COVID-19 cases

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– Norwich is one of the hot spots for COVID-positive cases in the state, along with New London. Through an executive order early this week, Governor Ned Lamont opened the opportunity for local leaders to decide if they wanted to roll back Phase Three virus restrictions or stay in Phase Three.

Despite the rise in cases, both Norwich and New London decided to stay in Phase Three.

And that’s good news for folks at Olde Tymes Restaurant because they are getting back toward ‘normal’ with a restaurant at 75 percent capacity (allowed in Phase 3 reopening restrictions).

Related: Mayor says New London will stay at Phase 3 reopening after Gov. Lamont gives cities option to revert

They have made a lot of changes to keep up with the new regulations and are glad they don’t have to go back to Phase Two.

When things were at 50 percent, only every other booth could be open. So this one was closed while the other one was open. But now at 75 percent, they can have both booths open and they put up these barriers so the parties are separated.

Olde Tymes has also added sanitizing stations and washes down tables before they reseat, in order to keep up with these new times.

Rodney Green of Olde Tymes Restaurant said, “It does have a little bit higher labor cost requirement but it’s either that or not be open. Take your pick.”

And he says it’s better than selling toilet paper like they did during the beginning of the pandemic when they were take-out only.

City leaders in both Norwich and New London say science shows the recent spikes are not attributed to restaurants.

Mayor Michael Passero of New London said, “So far, what I’m being told is the science does not tell us that that will accomplish anything because the virus does not understand a border.”

“The Uncas Health District does a very good job at contact tracing and what’s that shown is that the infections are not coming from the restaurants or the events. They’re coming from some people getting careless with social distancing. Small groups of people, things like that add up,” said John Salamone, Norwich City Manager.

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