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Phase 2.1 changes for restaurants begin Friday despite reconsideration efforts

Thursday is the last night restaurants in Connecticut can stay open past 10 p.m. for the foreseeable future, part of a rollback to phase two the governor hopes will stem the rising tide of cases.

News 12 Staff

Nov 6, 2020, 3:10 AM

Updated 1,322 days ago

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Thursday was the last night restaurants in Connecticut could stay open past 10 p.m. for the foreseeable future. It’s part of a rollback to phase two the governor hopes will stem the rising tide of cases.
Restaurant owners say it's just going to make it harder for them to stay in business.
One woman's petition to keep her restaurant open later has more than 7,000 signatures.
Angelique Cannestro is a bartender at Hudson Grille in Stamford, and her boyfriend owns the Blind Rhino in Norwalk. She says both restaurants have adapted to the new regulations and invested in plexi-glass barriers and other measures to keep their customers safe.
Cannestro works the night shift and says this new restriction will significantly cut her hours. Cannestro started the petition to urge Gov. Ned Lamont to change his mind.
She says a lot of business is done between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. and is being done safely. Matt Storch, the owner of Match, signed her petition, hoping the governor would budge a little.
"What we are asking is a couple of extra hours, just till 11 p.m. -- get that last chunk, that helps us get through this," he said.
As of his press briefing at 4 p.m. Thursday, the only change he said he was willing to make is to stop service at 9:30 p.m., but keep doors open until 10 p.m. Cannestro says this isn't enough and will significantly impact thousands of people's income.
"We are all thinking about the next month and our rent and that is something really scary to think about," she said.
"We have done a lot to accommodate the restrictions that were out there," said Blind Rhino owner Matt Bacco. "We enforced the restrictions, we spent the time and energy on the barriers, tables are spaced out."
Bacco argues restaurants are the safer places to be right now.
"He should be encouraging people to go out to these restaurants where there are rules in place, instead of them going places where there are no rules in place," he said.
Phase 2.1 starts at 12:00 a.m. Friday morning. Restaurants will also have to reduce capacity to 50%, down from 75.
Just a week ago, Lamont publicly said restaurants did not appear to be the cause of the spread of COVID-19. Yet Thursday, acting public Health Director Dierde Gifford said restaurants have been the cause of several outbreaks.


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