People, Restaurants Adjusting To Limited In-House Dining

People slowly returning to restaurant dining rooms while some are still opting for takeout.

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It’s now been a little more than a week since Connecticut entered phase 2 of the reopening process, allowing for in-house dining at restaurants.

Plainville’s J. Timothy’s Tavern had been closed since March but like many Connecticut restaurants, it reopened on June 17 for limited capacity in-house dining, something that’s required some adjustment for the restaurant and for patrons.

“It’s a big relief after three months being couped up to finally take the family out to dinner,” said Tim DeMarco.

Saturday night was a special occasion for the DeMarco family. Tomorrow, Zach DeMarco leaves for National Guard training. He was happy to spend his final night with his family, eating out at J. Timothy's.

“It’s pretty great,” said Zach. “It’s been unfortunate the last couple of months not being able to eat out, especially the family and other people.”

Although allowed to operate at 50% capacity, they say they are limiting it to less than 40%. Inside, people are seated with empty tables between each party.

“Everything is so spread out and everything is kind of quiet. It’s not us but again, we’re there,” said J. Timothy’s General Manager Greg Gardner.

While the dining room was open, many people still opted for curbside takeout, where J. Tims was happy to oblige.

“Everybody’s comfort level is different,” explained J. Timothy Manager Rino Ouellette. “Some people who don’t want to go inside come by for take out and that’s fine."

The takeout area, complete with its own outside tent and delivery staff, is as busy as the restaurant itself.

“If they want us to put it in the trunk, we’ll put it in the trunk. If they want us to put it in the front window, we’ll do that."

Meanwhile back in the restaurant, the Demarco’s enjoyed their send-off meal, all while following safety guidelines.

“We’re taking all the precautions, wearing masks up to the table. Hand sanitizer, social distancing and the restaurant seems to be doing a great job of it,” said Tim DeMarco.

As for a comparison to the dining experience now to pre-pandemic?

“Still good food and good times and good people so it’s still the same. We’re just taking some extra safety precautions, that’s about it,” he said.

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