New London to host virtual meeting with local restaurants in anticipation of reopening
New London — With the state poised for a possible reopening on May 20, city officials want restaurant owners to be aware of what the restaurant landscape might look like.
City officials on Monday are inviting the restaurant industry to participate in a virtual meeting to discuss challenges and establish best practices for restaurants to reopen safely and safeguard against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The call will begin at 10 a.m. and is expected to end at 11 a.m. Representatives from local restaurants can join using the following information: Join Zoom Meeting: zoom.us/j/92268387519, Dial-in Phone Number: 1 (929) 436-2866, Meeting ID: 922 6838 7519.
“We have some time until we can start the process of reopening, and the City wants to be sure that we are using the time wisely to hear from all our restaurants and ensure that we are thinking through every step,” Mayor Michael Passero said in a statement.
“We need to reopen, but we need to do so with the public health in mind. That means getting a plan in place to ensure we are reopening responsibly and safely,” he said.
Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday laid out a four-phase plan for reopening some businesses in Connecticut that involves social distancing measures and hygiene practices, such as wearing face masks. Lamont said restaurants may reopen May 20 for outdoor service, though bars will remain closed. Retail stores, offices, hair salons, outdoor museums and recreational areas also are poised for a reopening, if certain benchmarks are met.
The criteria that would need to be met includes an increase in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, 14 days of declining hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients and adequate personal protective equipment, among others.
If the benchmarks are met, restaurants will be allowed to set up designated outdoor seating areas, which fall under the standard Ledge Light Health District food service license. Several restaurants in New London offer outdoor seating.
“If an establishment is able to comply with the general requirements released by the Governor’s office for outdoor seating, the Connecticut Public Health Code, and the Ledge Light Health District food service regulation, Ledge Light Health District will authorize these types of activities as we normally do,” district Director of Health Stephen Mansfield said in a statement.
“Our team of environmental professionals is fully prepared to assist with food service establishment reopening procedures if the Governor gives the green light on May 20,” Mansfield said.