Today marks just one week from Christmas and with the holiday around the corner, last-minute shopping is in full effect and New Britain leaders are encouraging residents to shop local.
New Britain has instituted a suspension of parking meter fees in hopes of bringing more traffic to local businesses during the holiday season. The city said they’ve offered this special for the last several years but in 2020, it was essential.
"Typically our meters run 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday but there will be two-hour free parking," said Johnathan Delgadillo, manager of facilities and energy for the city of New Britain.
"Especially with the pandemic we know our local shops are definitely hurting a little bit. We are happy to say that a lot of them are still here, but they’re still looking for your support so hopefully this free parking should help bring people to us," Delgadillo continued.
Carlos Ilac is the owner of Negritas Restaurant on Main Street and with restrictions prohibiting customers from being able to dine in, he believes any change that can get people walking through the door is a good one.
"It’s not easy for everybody working in this moment with the pandemic, you know? It’s wonderful, you know, I feel very, very good for everybody and for myself. When they [customers] don’t have a parking lot they go when they have a chance to not pay meter they stop," Ilac said.
Another New Britain favorite, Amato's Toy and Hobby, typically booms with business at this time of the year, but owner Steve Amato has no qualms about receiving a little help by way of free parking.
"I think it’s great. It encourages people to shop local," said Amato.