Joan Hartley

State Senator

Joan Hartley

Chief Deputy President Pro Tempore

An Independent Voice

March 30, 2021

Sen. Hartley, Senate Votes to Extend Outdoor Food, Beverage Service by Restaurants into 2022, Preserving Popular Restaurant Pandemic Operations

Today, the State Senate approved legislation that will extend outdoor dining activity at restaurants through to March 31, 2022. The legislation, which has no fiscal impact, establishes a process by which local zoning officials can allow or expand outdoor dining at restaurants. It also specifies that any outdoor dining activity previously authorized by executive order will be approved though March 31, 2022. State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) today voted in support of the bill and it now heads to the Governor’s office to be signed into law.

“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been widespread, especially on restaurants. Outdoor dining was a vital lifeline in helping restaurants here in our area and throughout the state stay in operation and keep workers employed. Additionally, it has given residents new options for dining at local restaurants and continue to support small businesses,” said Sen. Hartley. “This bill supports Connecticut’s restaurants and food service industry in their recovery from the pandemic and gives certainty they will be able to continue to have the flexibility to provide outdoor dining.”

This legislation codifies the Governor’s Executive Order, grandfathering in restaurants which had been authorized to offer outdoor dining during the past year and maintains the preexisting standards such as specific spacing which does not interfere with local pathways and is subject to reasonable standards, such as compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As the COVID-19 pandemic struck in spring 2020, restaurants struggled under limitations imposed on their businesses by public safety standards. Expansion of outdoor dining led to increased safety and comfort for diners, leading to benefits for the businesses adopting them. During the early months of the pandemic statistics from the Centers for Disease Control found patients who reported dining inside a restaurant were 2.4 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 .