Restaurants make changes to prepare for indoor dining in Phase 2 reopening


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)— A week from Wednesday, restaurants will open their doors and welcome people back inside.

Scott Dolch, the Executive Director with the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said dining in will be a slightly different experience.

“You’ll have to keep your mask on as a guest until you get to your seat, and you can take it off with your guests and dine in,” said Dolch.

Under Phase 2 guidelines, restaurants can only seat 50% of their indoor capacity. 

“So if your indoor seating capacity prior to was 100, you were able to get 50 people. 
And obviously outside you can expand as much as the town will let you do that,”  he said.

Bar seating can stay open with restrictions. 

Dolch added, “Any party still would have to be separated by six feet. If you and I went to the bar, we could sit next to each other like at a table but the next party would have to be six feet away.”

Some seating will need physical barriers.

“I know a lot of restaurants have booths so not having to separate them with the six foot spacing. They can put a barrier up behind the booths as long as it’s 30 inches above the table,” said Dolch.

Dr. Frank Mongillo told News 8 that people with underlying conditions shouldn’t rush to make reservations.

“People that are really at risk are the people that are older, that have decreased lung capacity. So if you’re older and you have COPD, you probably want to think twice before you start going out again,” said Mongillo.

He added asymptomatic transmission is less of a concern.

“The world health organization was doing contact tracing that showed the spread from asymptomatic people is much less common than we were afraid of,” said Mongillo.

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