Al fresco dining popular amid Covid-19 surge – NBC Connecticut


As cases of Covid-19 increase, reservations are declining at some restaurants. Now alfresco dining is the hot ticket as winter weather sets in.

Among those rethinking indoor dining is Carol Sheridan.

“No, not really anymore,” said Sheridan.

She and her group hung an igloo to celebrate a birthday at Wood-n-Tap in Farmington on Sunday.

“I feel comfortable here with all of these people that I’m with all the time anyway,” Sheridan said.

As winter approaches, the restaurant has set up six of the covered and heated outdoor locations.

“The demand to reserve them keeps growing every day,” said Vincent Deluca, director of Wood-n-Tap.

Wood-n-Tap said that amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, traffic and reservations were down at the restaurant. The alfresco dining helped make up for that.

“This gives the restaurant another source of income and we are happy to do it for our customers,” said Deluca.

Maintaining the expansion of outdoor dining is a goal of the Connecticut Restaurant Association. The state’s relaxed rules are expected to expire at the end of March.

The issue was raised during a virtual meeting for members last week and staff explained the work being done to keep it going.

“To clarify what we need to do, what the new bill might look like to allow you to extend a third season of outdoor dining without the paperwork, permits and everything in between,” said Scott Dolch, President and CEO of the Connecticut Restaurant Association.

It’s just another challenge for restaurants right now, including worker shortages and illnesses, inflation, and food distribution.

While many are optimistic, brighter, warmer days are ahead.

“I hope we hope for a great 2022 for us to start recovering. I know we’re not there yet, ”Dolch said.


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