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.

Local Restaurants and COVID-19: Elm

In this Q&A with a local restaurateur, we hear from chef Luke Venner of elm restaurant downtown about how the highly touted eatery is coping with restrictions following the COVID-19 emergency. New Canaanite: What has this past week been like for you? 

Chef Luke Venner: Very challenging to say the least. We had to completely change our business model and systems within 24 hours and reassure a nervous staff that we were devising a solution to keep them employed. We also started keeping a body temperature log of everyone that enters the building and a shuttle service to keep our employees away from public transportation. How is you faring business-wise?

Did You Hear … ?

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has established “traumatic asphyxia, mechanical compression accident” as the cause of death for the 71-year-old woman found pinned and non-responsive March 27 beneath a motor vehicle in a South Bald Hill Road driveway. It isn’t clear what happened—an investigation from the New Canaan Police Department’s Accident Reconstruction Unit is ongoing, according to public information officer Lt. Jason Ferraro. ***

The New Canaan Building Department on April 17 issued an after-the-fact permit for a $50,000 renovation of two bathrooms at 246 Park St. Officials noted on the permit that the work “was one without obtaining the necessary permits, this means that all required inspections during construction were not performed.” The contractor on the job was the condominium’s owner, according to building records. ***

Chef Luke Venner of elm restaurant in New Canaan, has received an invitation by the prestigious James Beard Foundation to bring a taste of “Connecticut Spring” to the Historic Beard House on May 14th.