Last week restaurants on Greenwich Ave were told by the Highway Dept that the “nodes” that took the place of parking spaces for outdoor dining needed be cleared of tables and chairs by Sunday, Dec 19th in order to be removed on Monday.
The removal of the nodes does not mean there is no outdoor dining on the Ave this winter.
First Selectman Fred Camillo told restaurant owners they could use of the sidewalks for dining, as long as pedestrians have room to pass by.
With the nodes removed, cars quickly repopulated the parking spaces, and the Avenue bustled with holiday shoppers.
Camillo said Greenwich had left their outdoor dining nodes in place longer than nearby towns, where they were removed in October or November.
The nodes on Greenwich Avenue will be restored in April.
That said, Camillo added the plan was contingent on the situation with Covid-19, and that he told the restaurant owners during a meeting on Monday that should Governor Lamont update an executive order reducing indoor seating capacities to 50%, the nodes would be restored.
The First Selectman said restaurant owners relayed that their businesses were down between 47% and 75% in the past few weeks.
Beyond that, Camillo said he was disappointed by fearmongering about Omicron on social media.
While he plans to restore the mask mandate in town buildings in the next 48 hours, he noted it would only be temporary and that he was seeing residents opting to wear masks anyway.
Local businesses would continue to have the discretion about requiring masks.
Camillo said if Governor Lamont were to institute a requirement for vaccine passports, he expected would give residents more confidence to go out.
This week, the governor announced vaccine passports were available to residents for their mobile devices.
Overall, Camillo’s message was, “If you’re not vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you’re not boosted, get boosted.”
“You don’t have to cancel anything. But bring a mask with you in case you’re in a confined space,” he said.
Beyond that, he said he was concerned about both misinformation and fearmongering on social media.
“We think this will pass,” he said.
In the meantime, he emphasized the value of testing and said the town had reached out to the state with a request to provide testing.
“Now we don’t have the staffing capability to do it,” he said.
Lastly, Camillo said, “We think this will pass. Usually the last variant of a pandemic before it becomes just a flu is highly transmissible, but less potent.”
Vaccine Passport Available to CT Residents; Store Covid-19 Vaccination Records on Your Mobile Device