The first phase of Reopen Connecticut begins May 20, and a number of West Hartford restaurants and retailers are planning to open on the first day, with others to follow close behind.
By Ronni Newton
As of May 20, restaurants will be able to serve customers in outdoor seating areas, and retailers deemed “non-essential,” as well as shopping centers and malls, will once again be able to allow customers inside.
Offices will also be able to reopen, as will university research operations and outdoor zoos and museums.
All businesses planning to reopen must first self-certify through the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, and receive the Reopen CT badge, and all will be subjected to a occupancy restrictions and other requirements detailed by the state in a guideline for opening by sector.
Blue Back Square
While Blue Back Square’s streets have remained open and many of the tenants – including medical offices, restaurants offering takeout or delivery, and businesses deemed essential such as Woofgang – have also continued to operate, the shopping center announced that the property itself is officially reopening on Wednesday, May 20.
“To support the well-being of the West Hartford community, Blue Back Square will continue to follow town, state, and national health mandates and will have preventative measures in place to ensure a clean, safe, and comfortable environment for its shoppers and guests,” General Manager Robyn Rifkin said.
Retail hours will be Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m.
World of Beer plans to welcome guests to its outdoor patio on Wednesday, but other restaurants that have been open will continue to take-out and delivery only at this point.
The Tempurpedic store plans to open Wednesday.
Crate and Barrel Assistant Manager Hope Biggerstaff said the store will open for contactless/curbside pick-up of online and phone orders beginning Friday, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, but the interior of the store will not yet be open to customers.
West Elm will be open by appointment only. Barnes & Noble will continue curbside pick-up. Ooh La La, which has recently moved to 55 Isham Road, is awaiting approval of permits connected to the move but plans to reopen as soon as possible.
More details are available on the Blue Back Square website.
Many West Hartford Center restaurants, which already have outdoor dining facilities, plan to reopen on Wednesday, and were busy this week preparing their patios with tables and chairs situated to accommodate required occupancy and physical distancing requirements.
Restaurants in the Center that have confirmed plans to open for outdoor dining on Wednesday include Max Burger, Max’s Oyster Bar, Bricco, Harvest Wine Bar, Shish Kebab House, Union Kitchen, Zohara, and Blue Elephant Trail.
Luna Pizza, which has had its entire premises treated with the two-step PermaSafe Antimicrobial Surface Protectant (look for more specific information on that shortly), will open its patio Wednesday as well.
Fleming’s Wine Bar will also open its patio on Wednesday, as will Artisan at the Delamar Hotel.
Outside of the Center, Effies Place, Park & Oak, Hartford Baking Company (New Park Avenue), Butterfly, Rockledge Grille, Zaytoon’s Bistro, and KT Bakery also plan to open Wednesday. Blue Plate Kitchen plans to open Thursday.
Retailers that have responded to a request to share reopening plans, that will be opening May 20, include:
- Kimberly Boutique and kimberlyGIFT. 968 Farmington Ave. Open by appointment, allowing two people into the store at a time. Call 860-523-4894. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday noon-4 p.m. Still offering curbside pick-up, free shipping, and local delivery
- Ten Thousand Villages. 967C Farmington Ave. Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.860-233-5470. For more informatio email manager.westhartford@
- Center Framing, Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Will be happy to set appointments.
- French Cleaners has been open as an essential business throughout, primarily servicing route and delivery customers. The front door has been closed but will be reopening on May 20. Curbside pick-up and drop-off and a 24/7 drop-off kiosk are available. Alterations fittings will be available by appointment only and can be made at www.thefrenchcleaner.com. French Cleaners Sewing Department has been making face masks which are available at $7 each. Current customers will receive 2 masks free of charge.
- GOLFTEC West Hartford, 1146 New Britain Ave. More information available on the website.
- Cookshop Plus, 60 LaSalle Rd. Open daily 10:30 a.m.-3.30 p.m.
- DeRobertis Jewelers, 52 LaSalle Rd. By appointment only, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Call (860) 523-1757), text or Facebook for an appointment. All customers entering the store will be required to wear a mask, owner Rosemarie DeRobertis said. “We will provide a mask if you do not have one. If you are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons please contact us, we will make arrangements to assist you by video chat, email, phone or text message. We can make curbside delivery of your purchase or repair. Under current circumstances we can not replace watch batteries while you wait.”
Westfarms announced last week that the shopping center will reopen to the public at 11 a.m. on May 20. Information about specific stores and restaurants has not been provided, and it is suggested that customers call ahead for specific opening information.
Common areas at Westfarms will initially operate on a reduced schedule, Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. “Mall walkers,” however, will have earlier access and will be able to utilize Westfarms beginning daily at 10 a.m.
The We-Ha.com directory of restaurants open for takeout and delivery will be updated over the next few days with outdoor dining availability. To be included, updated information should be emailed to Ronni Newton, email@example.com.
Information regarding retailers that have reopened should also be emailed to Ronni Newton at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in a directory.
The Town of West Hartford unveiled a concept plan for expanding outdoor dining and retail capacity into rights of way and other public spaces on Monday night, and that plan will be discussed with stakeholders during a Zoom meeting on Wednesday at 10 a.m. before being finalized.
Plans include making LaSalle Road one-way headed northbound with several dining areas set up along the roadway in existing parking spaces. Additional dining is proposed for several portions of Farmington Avenue and South Main Street.
Once plans are finalized, restaurants or retailers will have to apply for a permit from the town. A response to the permit request will be required within 10 days. More information can be found here.
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