Restaurant owners statewide are putting the pressure on Governor Lamont to move up his projected indoor dining date of June 20.

In less than 24 hours yesterday (June 3,) over 550 restaurants in the CT Restaurant Association signed a petition asking the Governor for an accelerated opening on indoor dining. The group is asking for an indoor dining date of June 10 rather than the state's guideline of June 20.

This is based on the fact that June 10 will be a full three weeks since outdoor dining was approved and implemented, and 86 days since dining rooms were closed. The Association stresses that "during this time, our restaurants have continued to why they are leaders in safety and sanitization, as they have provided a safe environment for both their employees and customers."

In addition, Rhode Island has opened their restaurant's dining rooms, and Connecticut's COVID numbers are trending better than New York and Massachusetts' metrics. The Association feels very strongly that every day counts. The petition points out that Hartford's Firebox restaurant closed this week after 13 years in business, because they "simply couldn't hold out any longer." Without an accelerated opening date, the Association stresses that other restaurants will soon follow suit.

Speaking personally, I've been to a couple of New Milford restaurants since outdoor dining was opened, and I couldn't agree more with the Association. All staffers were wearing masks, as were patrons if they had to go inside to use the restroom, social distancing was in effect, and the experience was both enjoyable and safe. I think that we are all much more aware of behavior that is both safe and expected.

Also, and again just speaking from personal experience, aside from Day 1 where everyone had cabin fever and couldn't wait to get to their favorite place, crowds at restaurants were manageable and no one was unsafe. I'm hoping that the Governor reconsiders his guidance and accelerates the opening for this important business sector.

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