With a new guideline in place for outdoor dining, restaurants may need to reconsider how they will offer dining this fall and winter.
Last week, the sector rules for Connecticut’s reopening process was amended, prohibiting restaurants from using individual igloos and small enclosures for dining.
Restaurants that were planning to or already implemented the use of igloos like Back Nine Tavern, a bar and grill restaurant in Southington, are now choosing to just stick with indoor dining, according to management.
Other restaurants are considering having diners “BYOB”, a campaign started by the Barker Specialty Company and several area chambers of commerce, encouraging people to bring blankets while they dine outdoors.
“The idea was to change the perspective of people that go into a restaurant,” Gerry Barker, President of Barker Specialty Company, said. “Sitting outside being a little uncomfortable to support not only the restaurant, but also to allow them to dine safely, would be a worthwhile objective.”
The campaign began three weeks ago as an idea from Barker’s son, Max Barker, who thought about the fact that people would pay to go to football games and use blankets to keep warm so why wouldn’t they do the same to support local restaurants.
Several Cheshire restaurants including Cheshire Coffee and Italian restaurant, Viron Rondo Osteria, has implemented the BYOB policy and it has been successful. Viron Rondo Osteria also has fire pits and outdoor heaters on their patio.
“People were doing it all along anyway. It seems to be well received. It makes it a little more cozy,” Heidi Heidkamp, general manager of Viron Rondo Osteria said.
President and CEO of the Waterbury Regional Chamber, Lynn Ward, learned of the idea from Barker and thought it would be a great idea to collaborate on.
“As people are coping with the new way of living during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are stepping up in new ways to show our support as the premier business organization in the region,” Ward said in the Waterbury Regional Chamber’s press release.
The Waterbury Regional Chamber is holding a contest for encouraging people to go to their local restaurants to snap a picture while eating with a blanket on and email photos in until Nov. 9 for a chance to win a $50 restaurant gift card.
With the new guideline, Barker thinks it would be good idea for restaurants to join the campaign. He stressed that with restaurants offering it and patrons participating, they are supporting one another. Every restaurant participating has a sign in the front of the business.
“The change in thought process is to go dining and be comfortable and to support the restaurants,” Barker said. “At the same time, it’s also a way for the restaurants to thank their customers.”