As many see next Wednesday as “back to business,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker started an informational webinar on reopening with caution.
“It's one small step, and this is a much longer conversation about comfort and health and safety,” said Elicker.
Together New Haven’s economic reopening webinar set the stage for industry-specific sessions set for Friday. They’ll focus on retail, restaurants, and salons.
Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Garrett Sheehan said there’s still a lot of reservation as they prepare to reopen.
“I know a lot of them are looking forward to May 20 and having the opportunity to open up,” said Sheehan. “A lot of them are looking to it with apprehension. They don't really know what they're walking into.”
Some of that will start to come into focus in the next few days. On Thursday's intro session, city officials said food trucks will be included in the restaurant opening, and a new application for outdoor seating is now available.
The city says they’re continuing to find ways to support retail and restaurants. Sheehan says the decisions on how to move forward are ultimately up to the owners.
“I think it's going to be very slow,” said Sheehan. “I don't expect every business that has the opportunity to open their doors on May 20 will do so. And I would say to any business owner, if you feel uncomfortable May 20 does not mean you must open up.”
Elicker shared the same thoughts, saying the state’s guidelines are helpful and following health guidelines will be part of what keeps the doors open.
“Health is tied to economic success, because if we do things too quickly we may have to tighten up again because of resurgence of the virus. And that could have a significant impact on the economy.”