Local restaurants are preparing to get back to some type of normalcy after it was announced that starting next month most business restrictions are expected to lift.
On Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont said most restrictions will end May 1. The 11 p.m. curfew for restaurants, theaters, entertainment and recreational venues will change to midnight. Alcohol can be served without food and limits on table sizes will end.
About 61 percent of state residents over 18 have received at least their first vaccine dose. The state is currently ranked number two in the nation in vaccinations per capita.
Double Play Cafe, a sports bar and restaurant in Wallingford, has plans now that restrictions are expected to lift.
“I think this is great,” said Double Play General Manager Jeff Gagne. “We’re going to have some live music outside this summer so we’re excited for what is coming.”
For the second year, Double Play will have an outdoor tent that seats 90 people. The business also has a new kitchen manager and is planning some new specials for the menu. Weekend brunch is also expected to return.
Sandra Arnold, co-owner of AJ’s Oasis in Meriden, also expects the end of the restrictions will bring some changes.
“We used to do late night kitchen, Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. – to midnight,” Arnold said. “We’ll probably start that again, but from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.”
AJ’s late night menu includes pizza and wings.
“Moving forward a few weeks to May 19,” Lamont said at the Monday press conference. “At that point we’re going to essentially end all of the remaining business restrictions.”
Lamont said after May 19 businesses will be able to decide their own social distancing guidelines, gathering limits and curfew. The governor said after May 19 masks won’t be required outdoors but will continue to be strongly suggested indoors, unless a person is vaccinated.
The state Department of Health will issue recommendations for large outdoor events and clarifying mask rules after May 19.
In Southington, Hop Haus owner Michael Miller is eager to get more use out of the patio. He also recently opened a second location in Plainville.
“In both of my locations, I still plan on keeping things pretty close to where they’re at right now,” Miller said. “I am not going to go crazy with packing people in here. A lot of people come to my restaurant because they feel safe and I don't want to take that away from them.”
Hop Haus Plainville, located at 24 Whiting St. opened in late March.