coronavirus pandemic

‘I'm Going to Church More': Restaurant Owners Wonder Whether They'll Survive Winter

In New London, Connecticut, restaurant owners are trying to figure out what to do when some residents remain wary of indoor dining as the winter cold looms

Greenwich, CT Restaurants Extend Outdoor Dining Into Streets For Social Distancing
John Moore/Getty Images

When Connecticut locked down in March, Sean Murray had hundreds of gallons of beer and no one to drink it. Between the restaurant and the dive bar he managed in the city's downtown, Murray has 70 draft lines.

"We lost about $15,000 in beer alone," he said. Bottles of beer and wine can sit, but the kegs, Murray said, "were all kaput."

If the state locks down again, "it could cost us the business," Murray said.

There is no plan for a second lockdown, but New London, like the rest of Connecticut and much of the country, is trending in the wrong direction, NBC News reports. From Sept. 20 to Oct. 3, the city recorded at least 115 new cases of Covid-19, leading the state Public Health Department and Gov. Ned Lamont to declare it a "red zone." Soon after, Lamont gave the city the option: stay in phase 3, which allows restaurants to stay at 75 percent capacity for indoor dining, or revert to phase 2, which allows 50 percent.

New London Mayor Michael Passero chose to stay in phase 3, saying the difference wouldn't stop community spread, which contact tracing in the area showed was mostly the result of youth sports and family gatherings, not restaurants that reopened.

"People aren't going out to dinner, but they're going to have their neighbor over and get Covid from that," he said.

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