© 2023 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Outdoor restaurant dining in CT is extended into 2023

Bob Cooke, partner and co-owner of the Max Restaurant Group, watered planters surrounding the patio at Max's Oyster Bar in West Hartford Center as they prepared to reopen for outdoor dining in 2020.

The Senate unanimously voted for final passage Wednesday of a bill extending by 13 months the right of restaurants to offer outdoor dining, as initially authorized by one of the Gov. Ned Lamont’s orders during the COVID-19 emergency.

Anything that undermines local zoning authority can be problematic in the legislature, but lawmakers in both parties said the consensus was to give the hospitality industry at least another season of outdoor dining as a legal right.

Sen. Norm Needleman, a Democrat who also serves as the first selectman of Essex, said he was voting for passage after consulting with local land-use offices in his community and district.

“They all do understand that the greater good here is to try to let these guys recover,” Needleman said.

With every Democrat and a majority of Republicans in support, the House passed the measure, House Bill 5271, last week on a vote of 121-21.

A year ago, the legislature enshrined the basics of the order in a temporary state law, a gesture to a restaurant industry that was hard hit by the pandemic and identified outdoor dining as vital to keeping many eateries viable.

Without the new law, the right to outdoor dining would expire on March 31. The governor’s signature is certain.

The extension was supported by the two associations that represent municipalities, the Connecticut Council of Small Towns and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and sought by the restaurant industry.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.