The Town of West Hartford will begin removing its outdoor dining barriers, which allowed many of its restaurants extra outdoor dining space, next week in anticipation of snow season.
The town installed barriers and changed traffic patterns in the busy West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square areas to allow restaurants more flexibility to expand outdoor dining during the coronavirus pandemic. However, with snow season on the way, the town will begin taking down the barriers starting November 16 to allow for winter storm operations.
The town will start removing barriers on LaSalle Road and Farmington Avenue at 5 a.m. on November 16, then move to Isham Road on November 17.
LaSalle Road, which became one-way during the transition, will remain so. The new traffic pattern will include bike lanes and new head-out angled parking from Ellsworth Road to Arapahoe Road.
While restaurants will lose the expanded outdoor areas when the barriers come down, restaurants will existing outdoor spaces may request to have those spaces covered and heated with a temporary structure to expand indoor seating capacity while allowing for safe social distancing. The town will also continue to offer 15 to 30-minute parking for free for curbside pickup and takeout options on LaSalle Road, South Main Street, Farmington Avenue, Memorial Road and Isham Road. The municipal parking lot kiosks will also allow for 30-minute free parking.
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"The Town of West Hartford will continue to support businesses during the winter months so that they can continue to serve their customers when the dining corals are removed. Restaurants that have existing, previously approved outdoor dining areas may request to have those spaces covered and heated by submitting a request the Zoning Office," town official wrote in a notice.
Town officials also said they hope to offer the same kind of outdoor dining options that were available this summer next summer, but with the governor's executive order set to expire, it will require a zoning change.
On Friday the state rolled back some reopening guidelines, moving to Phase 2.1, which reduced capacity at restaurants and implements a curfew for dine-in services. The move is an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which is hitting record-breaking numbers across the U.S.
In Connecticut Monday, the positivity rate came in at 3.7%. Hospitalizations hit 496, the largest since May.