Doug McCrory


Doug McCrory



March 23, 2022

Sen. McCrory Votes to Ensure Outdoor Dining Can Continue Without Interruption Through 2023

Today, State Senator Doug McCrory (D-Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor) joined in passing legislation ensuring outdoor dining, a practice that grew in popularity during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic allowing restaurants to safely offer their services, will continue without interruption through 2023. In doing so, an initial target for municipalities to allow outdoor dining in perpetuity was shifted from this year to 2023, a precaution taken due to the continued uncertainty posed by rapidly shifting pandemic dynamics.

“Restaurants were among the hardest-hit businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic and outdoor dining provided them a lifeline to keep their doors open. Even more, it allowed restaurants to stay in business while reducing the risk of infection for both their customers and employees,” said Sen. McCrory. “I’m proud to support this continued flexibility for outdoor dining because it will help restaurants chart a path forward in recovering from the financial impact of the pandemic.”

House Bill 5271, “An Act Concerning The Provision Of Outdoor Food and Beverage Services and Outdoor Displays of Goods,” extends laws passed last year to allow the continuation of outdoor dining and retail activities initially authorized during the pandemic. Those laws are extended through April 30, 2023. On May 1, 2023, businesses seeking to continue outdoor dining operations would need to seek local approval.

Studies and surveys show that outdoor dining as an option has shown strong benefits for restaurants and demand for restaurant patrons. The National Restaurant Association reported in October 2021 that, as the Delta variant spread across the United States in early fall 2021, nearly 10% more restaurants offered outdoor dining than in prior months. Restaurants found that outdoor dining comprised a significant swath of sales – 60% of restaurants saw at least 21% of sales coming from outdoor dining – and 71% of full-service restaurants saw increased customer demand for outdoor seating.

Outdoor dining is a valuable tool to aid restaurants as the pandemic continues to cause tumult in the industry. As of March 2021, more than 10% of restaurants in the United States had closed permanently, impacting millions; flexible options like outdoor dining allow businesses to diversify their offerings and appeal to cautious diners. Many downtown and central areas of towns saw outdoor offerings bring new foot traffic and interest as well.