Martha Shanahan and Paul Hughes, Republican-American
NAUGATUCK — In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, one of the biggest dining days of the year, Larry Erickson ordered hundreds of pounds of corned beef.
Anticipating that many more than the regular crowd of diners — some of whom come multiple times a week — would be arriving at Jesse Camille’s Restaurant, Erickson, who owns the restaurant, prepared for a normal holiday celebration.
Now, Jesse Camille’s will become a takeout and delivery-only joint starting Tuesday after Connecticut joined other states in ordering that all restaurants close for in-house service.
“We have a very, very local customer base,” Erickson said over the sound of a boisterous crowd that gathered Monday at the restaurant bar for one last drink. “They’re all calling and saying ‘we’re coming down for our takeout tomorrow.’”
But, he said, “that’s not going to be able to help us recoup everything.”
Gov. Ned Lamont and the governors of New York and New Jersey on Monday jointly shuttered bars and restaurants in all three states to limit the spread of coronavirus. The order limits food service to takeout and delivery only through April 30. Bars that do not serve food will be required to temporarily close.
The Connecticut Restaurant Association said the shutdown order will affect more than 8,500 eating and drinking establishment in the state.
Lamont, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced in a conference call on Monday morning that all were going to be closing down bars and restaurants and making other coordinated moves in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three governors said they are cooperating on a regional basis to adopt a common set of rules in the absence of national directives.
“We’re all in this together. This is changing so fast. We have got to work on a coordinated basis to make sure this is how we go,” Lamont said.
Cuomo, Murphy and Lamont said they are working together to try to limit travel among the three states during the public health emergency for shopping, entertainment or skirting emergency restrictions where people live.
“We have agreed to a common set of rules that will pertain in all of our states, so don’t even think about going to a neighboring state because there is going to be a different set of conditions,” Cuomo said.
In addition to bars and restaurants, the three governors said they also planned to command gyms, movie theaters and commercial casinos to close Monday, starting at 8 p.m. Lamont ordered gyms and movie theaters in Connecticut closed through April 30.
Lamont and Cuomo requested tribal casinos in their states close because of sovereignty issues.
In Connecticut, the governor’s office announced the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation agreed to close the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos and resort properties for two weeks, starting Tuesday.
In addition, the order Monday directed off-track betting venues in Connecticut to cease on-premise operations through April 30.
Lamont, Cuomo and Murphy said they are encouraging people in their three states limit non-essential travel between 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. None of the governors said they are limiting or shutting down public transportation to restrict or suspend intrastate or interstate travel.