reopening connecticut

Dining Out? Health Experts Say Stick With Family

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It seems like forever ago when you could just meet with friends for drinks or a bite to eat. Now that Connecticut is in Phase 2 of reopening, some say it’s getting back to some sort of normal.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Myesha Brummell, restaurant manager for Bear’s Smokehouse in New Haven. “We’re ready for it. We’ve been waiting.”

That fresh air is just what one doctor suggests is better for people who are starting to dine out again, now that both indoor and outdoor service is available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[The virus is] much less transmissible in the open environment outside than in a closed environment inside,” said Dr. Thomas Balcezak, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Yale New Haven Health.

On a warm Thursday afternoon, customers at Bear’s Smokehouse agreed.

“I much rather be outside than inside as for right now,” Laura Barberia said. “You still have to be a little bit careful.”

Good weather is drawing people out of the house and into the restaurant’s big backyard. They’ve opened up the windows in the dining room for more air, but people are skipping it altogether.

“Indoor dining has been open, but people are still going with the outdoor dining,” said Brummell. “Just because of how nice the weather is.”

“It feels really nice you know to be outside and be with friends again and enjoy the nice weather,” said Barberia.

But, is having a meal with people who live outside your home a good idea?

“We are still asking people folks not to gather in groups that are not household contacts with one another anyway. So, I wouldn’t recommend it,” Dr. Balcezak said.

If you do, health experts say to keep the groups small and keep up the same healthy routines.

“Definitely hand sanitizer, masks as soon as you go inside and we still have to be careful for sure,” Barberia said.

And you should find a way to stay apart together.

“The fire pits, they draw a lot of people in and it’s a great time to sit around the firepit and have a good conversation late night,” Brummell said.

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