With snow from winter storms melted away in downtown New Canaan and warmer weather expected, public works officials this week re-installed barriers downtown that will allow for restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas.
Public Works Director Tiger Mann said Monday that the “barricades are back out, so the restaurants will be able to expand out.”
“It’s going to be absolutely beautiful for this week, 60 degrees by Thursday, so we are hoping there will be no snow,” Mann said during a regular meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure.
Created last May in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the water-filled barricades on Main, Elm and Forest Streets have allowed restaurants to expand onto the sidewalks while creating pedestrian walkways in the street.
Laura Budd, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said the organization was “pleased that as soon as all the snow melted and was taken away, the DPW crew cleaned up the streets and put the barriers back out.”
“It’s a team effort,” she said. “We saw the Fire Department filling them back up with water to make them protective. We’re really happy to have the barriers back up because it will allow for more people to dine outdoors and more pedestrians space to walk for social distancing.”
The New Canaan Police Commission during its Feb. 17 meeting extended the sideway and roadway modifications through March 17 and likely will re-extend during a regular meeting that day. Gov. Ned Lamont has said that starting March 19, capacity limits will be lifted for restaurants, among other types of businesses, though face coverings and social distancing will continue to be required. (Restaurants also will have an 8-person table capacity and 11 p.m. required closing time for dining rooms, by the governor’s order.)
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan noted during a Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday that the social distancing requirement means that even with an allowance for full capacity indoors, restaurants still need outdoor space to accommodate their customers.