HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Saturday, May 1 marked the next big step in the state’s reopening process. Restrictions on restaurants are easing, with more rollbacks to come in a few weeks.
It was a picture perfect weekend for dining outside and participating in outdoor activates.
Restaurants News 8 spoke with Saturday said it feels like a weight has been lifted. It’s been a challenging year for them, and they are slowly returning to normal.
“It is a breath of fresh air,” explained TJ Orscher, General Manager of New Park Brewing in West Hartford. “We’re really excited for what the next few months will bring.”
With that said, restaurants now have to keep up with demand after an uncertain year.
Effective now: The curfew at restaurants will be moved from 11 p.m. to midnight. And, outdoor restrictions will be lifted, which means alcohol can be served without food and there will be no table size limit.
Then on May 19, all remaining business restrictions will be lifted. That’s if COVID case numbers are low and vaccinations increase.
“We can do full capacity,” explained Joshua Batista, Regional General Manager of the Beah Restaurant Group, which owns restaurants in Connecticut and Massachusetts. “Everything is coming back a little at a time, which is nice.”
He said even with restrictions loosening and lifting, many safety protocols will remain.
“All staff, including myself, have to wear masks at all times,” explained Batista. “We do our sanitations every 30 minutes. We want to make sure the guests feel comfortable.”
Scott Dolch, Executive Director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said that’s something you’ll continue to see at restaurants across the state. He thanked everyone for their support throughout the entire pandemic, and he said they’re looking forward to brighter days ahead.
“I hope people get out, venture out, and enjoy not only their favorite restaurant – but other restaurants,” said Dolch. “There are so many around the state.”