Connecticut will move ahead to its third phase of reopening on Oct. 8, but bars and nightclubs will remain closed. Indoor dining capacity limits will increase from 50 percent to 75 percent, said Gov. Ned Lamont during his Sept. 24 news conference.
As cold weather makes outdoor dining a less popular option, the increase is designed to help offset the already negative economic impacts for businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The governor also expanded allowable capacity for indoor events from 25 to 100 people and outdoor events from 100 to 150 people. An earlier notice for private events, which was welcome news for caterers, allows walk-up bar service, provided patrons follow proper social distancing guidelines. Walk-up bar service is still not permitted at restaurant bars.
Connecticut Restaurant Association Executive Director Scott Dolch said in response to the announcement, “Today’s news is another important step in Connecticut’s nation-leading efforts to respond to COVID-19 in a safe and responsible manner. Like the rest of the country, Connecticut is not out of the woods of this pandemic by any stretch, but we’ve proven that it’s possible to be mindful of our local economy at the same time we keep our residents as safe as possible.
It’s important to keep in mind that Connecticut returned to limited indoor dining on June 17. That means that for more than three months, customers throughout the state have been dining indoors while Connecticut has held COVID transmission to some of the lowest levels in the country. Connecticut restaurateurs have proven their ability to adapt, follow new rules, and serve customers safely. Today’s news is a recognition of their hard work and commitment to being part of the solution, and a recognition that the state must help a sector that at its peak employed 10% of the state’s workforce.
We want to thank Governor Lamont, Commissioner Lehman, and the rest of their administration for their continued partnership and communication on these issues. Connecticut restaurants will need more help to make it through this difficult time, but the Governor has found ways to keep our industry and others moving ahead of other states, and to do it safely. We look forward to continued work with his administration in the weeks and months ahead.”
Restaurant tables will still need to be at least 6 feet apart or have plexiglass barriers. The latest state resources and guidelines can be found here.