Businesses Preparing For Reopening

While many businesses can reopen June 17, not all will - some libraries are electing to remain closed for precautionary reasons.

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After months of waiting, Berlin’s Checkered Flag Raceway is among the many Connecticut businesses ready to wave the green flag on phase two.

Preparing to open for the first time since last November when it closed for the winter, manager Heather Varricchio was at the Berlin Turnpike property Tuesday. She hung protective screening at the register and made sure there was ample sanitizer for customers and staff, all before wiping down each of the two dozen Go Karts.

“We’re just making sure we have the sanitation protocols. Everything is up to par. Get the go-karts up and running,” she said.

Outdoor Go Karting tracks, along with gyms, movie theatres, amusement parks and limited capacity indoor dining are among the many entertainment venues allowed to reopen tomorrow. Bowling alleys are another.

“The state has given us some guidelines. We think we followed them all. So we’re ready to go,” said Marcel Lessard, owner of Plainville’s Lessard Lanes.

Lessard Lanes will start conservatively. Opening tomorrow only to league members. Lessard says that will allow them to test all protocols amongst customers they know.

“Whatever we touch or whatever we bring out, goes to the sanitation station,” he said.  “Whether it’s just one finger on it or not. It gets cleaned, sanitized, dried and then gets put back in use.”

Upon entering the building all bowlers will have their temperatures monitored with wall-mounted thermometers. Social distance and masks will be required once inside.

Bowling balls and shoes will also be handed out directly by attendants. There will be no self-service and only one ball allowed per bowler.

There are strict sanitation and social distance guidelines for all businesses reopening, so strict some businesses have decided not to.

“We are electing not to reopen to protect basically our staff and our patrons,” said Helen Malinka.

Malinka is the library director at Berlin Peck Memorial, part of a 30 library consortium. Malinka said none of the consortium members will open Wednesday.  She explained it’s unlikely more than a handful will open before July.

At issue is the ability to keep patrons safe. Guidelines require sanitizing all books and surfaces, including computers used by patrons. Malinka said last year the library saw 18,000 visitors in July and August and that would be hard to control under the current guidelines.

So instead, Berlin Peck Memorial has been offering curbside pickup for the past 10 days. They say they’ve serviced over 500 library patrons during that time. Every book that is returned is quarantined for 72 hours.

“It just hurts our hearts to have to say, ‘not yet’ but we’re working on it,” said Malinka. “We just want you to be safe and healthy.”

Libraries aren’t the only businesses holding off. Bristol’s Lake Compounce will not open to season pass members until July 1, for season pass holders only.  It will open to the general public July 6. Quassy Amusement Park is scheduled to open June 20.

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