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Lenny's Indian Head Inn customers enjoy lunch on the deck on May 20, the first day the state allowed outdoor dining at scertified restaurants and eateries. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Customers find a table on the patio outside Gaucamole's Mexican Cuisine in Indian Neck on May 20, shortly after the restaurant opened for lunch and dinner service. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
The Stand in Indian Neck prepped its outdoor dining area for service which was set to begin at 4 p.m. on May 20, the state's first day allowing outdoor dining at certified restaurants, as part of CT's COVID-19 phased re-opening process. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
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On Wednesday, May 20, the sun came out, table umbrellas went up, and restaurant patrons began showing up, on the state's first official day of re-opening outdoor dining as part of a phased COVID-19 response plan which seeks to help bring the businesses back up to speed.
The sight of customers at tables was almost surreal after two months of enduring the need to shut down all dining areas at restaurants and eateries, by executive order of Gov. Ned Lamont, on March 16. Take-out and curbside delivery helped some of the businesses to offer limited servces during that time and is still being offered at many of the restaurants which are now offering outdoor seating.
Zip06/The Sound caught diners coming out shortly after noon to enjoy lunch in Branford outside neighboring Indian Neck restaurants Lenny's Indian Head Inn and Guacamole's Mexican Cuisine; while The Stand, located just across the road, was readying for its opening hour of 4 p.m. on May 20. A "Welcome Back" sign over The Stand's outdoor barbecue area also summed up precautions customers and staff are taking to keep everyone safe. Social distancing and health safety guidlines call for seated groups of no more than five, wearing facial masks when not eating or drinking, using designated entrance/exit areas and frequent handwashing.
Certification allowing restaurants to provide outdoor dining service meeting COVID-19 guidelines required. Branford is assisting restaurant and food establishments seeking to offer outdoor dining using expedited permits and other streamlined processes aligned with Gov. Lamont's Phase 1 re-opening of businesses executive order (see related story).