Governor Ned Lamont is applauding the Connecticut House of Representatives for unanimously voting today to approve legislation that codifies into state statutes the executive orders he issued during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that relax restrictions on outdoor dining at restaurants and enabling these businesses to provide expanded service to their customers outside.
The legislation permits restaurants to operate under these relaxed rules through March 31, 2022, and allows municipalities to expedite permanent changes to their zoning rules if they wish to expand the availability of outdoor dining and retail activity.
Governor Lamont said that not only is it a good idea for these relaxed rules to continue for another year, but he thinks the legislature may also want to revisit this concept again in the near future to enable restaurants to continue offering expanded outdoor dining on a permanent basis.
“These relaxed rules could be the start of a new Connecticut tradition that increases activity in our towns,” Governor Lamont said. “One positive outcome of this unfortunate pandemic has been that we’ve been thinking about new, creative ways to offer activities outdoors, including at restaurants. Expanded outdoor dining has created a vibrancy in many of our neighborhoods in ways that we haven’t seen before, all while supporting locally-owned, small businesses. This is a great bill, and I urge the Senate to pass it so that I can sign it into law.”
The legislation is House Bill 6610. It was approved in the House by a vote of 141-0 and will next be transmitted to the Senate for consideration.
In addition to that bill, Governor Lamont has filed a separate bill to streamline the processes for municipalities to permit outdoor dining in their towns. That legislation, which is currently pending in the Planning & Development Committee, is House Bill 6448.