Health Director: New Canaan Woman’s COVID-19 Complaint About Local Restaurant Unfounded

Municipal health officials said a New Canaan woman’s complaint last month that a restaurant downtown had been violating COVID-19-related rules was determined to be unfounded. According to a complaint that Tucker Murphy lodged with New Canaan’s highest elected official, the White Buffalo bar and restaurant  was “not following the Sector Rules” on the night of Friday, Dec. 11. Murphy phoned First Selectman Kevin Moynihan to say that the popular local business “was overcrowded,” according to email records obtained by through a public records request. 

Health Director Jenn Eielson referred to the complaint in emailing White Buffalo owner Dom Valente on Dec. 14.

Health Director: Small Private Gatherings Are Driving Community Spread

New Canaan is seeing COVID-19 virus spreading through small private gatherings rather than through outings to restaurants, according to the town’s health director. Though dining out is the number-two cause of transmission statewide, “that’s not what I see here,” Jenn Eielson told members of the Health & Human Services Commission during their regular meeting, held Dec. 3 via videoconference. The virus is spreading “when people let their guard down, when they only ‘have a few friends over,’ but those friends are from outside your house,” Eielson said. 

She added, “And then the test is only a snapshot in time. So they get tested the day before Thanksgiving and then they find out two days later that they’re positive, now that 48-window is your infection period.

Police Commission Votes 3-0 To Extend Outdoor Dining Set-Ups Through Dec. 31

Members of the Police Commission voted unanimously this month to allow restaurants to keep their altered outdoor dining set-ups—where tables are pushed out onto sidewalks and new pedestrian access ways are created in the street—through year’s end. Created in May and extended periodically since then, the temporary sidewalk and parking configurations on Main, Elm and Forest Streets are designed to give additional outdoor dining space to restaurants that have been under changing capacity restrictions since the onset of COVID-19 virus. (Currently, under the governor’s order, they’re allowed no more than 50% capacity total between indoor and outdoor dining.)

Police Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and member Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 in favor of the extension during the Nov. 18 meeting, held via videoconference. Chef Luke Venner of elm restaurant, a guest at the meeting, said “anything helps at this point for us.”

“I think we had looked into the idea of having some sort of enclosure but at this point in the game I don’t know if that makes sense,” he said.