Ansonia's Crave restaurant ready for return of 'some normalcy' once COVID-19 restrictions lift

ANSONIA — Libby Meissner is looking forward to seeing more customers frequent Crave, her downtown Latin-fusion restaurant.

At least that’s what she hopes will happen once business restrictions due to COVID-19 end next month, as announced by Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday.

“One word: Woo-Hoo. It's exciting. It's about time,” Meissner said.

Restaurants can already operate at 100 percent capacity, but social distancing requirements don’t allow for a full use of space indoors. The announcement is expected to provide businesses more flexibility and also means that curfews will soon come to an end, which Meissner said is a welcome change.

The state has also announced that the curfew on dining will be extended to midnight on May 1, which Meissner said is yet another sign that things are slowly getting back to normal.

“We can stay a little bit longer, because people nowadays, they're going in earlier, people are dining earlier. And of course, obviously they're leaving earlier based on curfews, so it'll be nice to get back some normalcy,” she said.

Remaining restrictions on businesses will be lifted May 19, depending on infection and vaccination rates. Meissner said some of her staff are already vaccinated and others are making appointments.

“For the restaurants, this is going to be a big shot in the arm,” said Mayor David Cassetti.

John Marini, corporation counsel for Ansonia, said residents are ready to take full advantage.

“People really want to get back to the restaurants, we see crowded parking lots (and) crowded streets already on weekend nights,” Marini said.

Sheila O’Malley, economic development director for the city, said that the announcement is welcome news but that a definitive end to the pandemic is still not in sight.

“I'd like to think we can get back to our normal course of business, people deserve that and the business owners certainly deserve it and frankly a year to go through this has been really too long,” O’Malley said.

When asked if she is willing to grab a meal and drink past midnight after May 19, she said she is looking forward to it.

“We hope to take advantage of the new hours,” she said.