'Coming back into normalcy:’ Restaurant owners, patrons embrace ease of capacity restrictions

Before the pandemic, the manager at StoneBridge, Phil Conine, says they never really saw the true potential of their outside dining area. Now the heat lamps will be a permanent fixture and people can choose to dine inside or out.

News 12 Staff

Mar 20, 2021, 2:16 AM

Updated 1,156 days ago

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Connecticut restaurant owners and patrons say the lifted capacity limits have given them a sense of confidence that normalcy is on the way.
Milford residents Alyssa and Michael Lynch decided to catch an early dinner at Bistro Basque on Friday.
Michael Lynch says he doesn’t think the relaxation of the capacity limits will have too much of an effect on the mom-and-pop bar and restaurant, since it still needs to accommodate the 6-foot social distance rule.
He says he still thinks, “These are great strides in the right direction. Hopefully by May, June, we are coming back into normalcy.”
Phil Conine, the general manager of Stonebridge, says they have always maintained social distancing with plexiglass for their customers who dine inside since the start of the pandemic.
He agrees that his restaurant isn't able to necessarily increase numbers due to the social distancing rule.
"With the capacity going up, it didn't affect us as much because we still have to have the social distancing on table. It does help the private party business," he says.
Conine says he has seen patrons feel safer dining indoors recently.
"We've been seeing customers coming in, they book a table, and they got their vaccines, they're ready to come out," he says.
Retail shops, churches and gyms also returned to full capacity on Friday, with social distance measures still in place.


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