WILTON \u2014 After a calendar year of uncertainty, adhering to various social distancing guidelines and having to be flexible with their business models, local restaurants are hoping to find some steady footing moving forward. Many businesses hold a keen focus on continuing their ability to serve patrons outdoors as the warm weather approaches. Outdoor dining, according to restaurant owners, stimulated their eatery\u2019s business throughout 2020. \u201cFor us, outdoor dining was huge,\u201d said Mario Lopez, owner of Bianco Rosso in Wilton. \u201cFrom what we were just doing with takeout at first, to when we began outdoor dining, our business increased by about 30 to 40 percent.\u201d Restaurants were afforded the opportunity to provide outdoor dining through Gov. Ned Lamont\u2019s executive orders last year. In Section 2 of Lamont\u2019s executive orders, the ability for \u201cexpedited municipal review of outdoor dining and retail\u201d was rolled out, and late last month, Lamont\u2019s orders were extended another 30 days. At a Wilton Planning and Zoning meeting last month, commissioners discussed the possibility of drafting town-specific outdoor dining regulations once Lamont\u2019s executive orders expire. The chairman said they were \u201clong overdue.\u201d \u201cWe didn't have an allowance to serve at the tables outside,\u201d said Devin O\u2019Keeffe, a manager at the Little Pub on Route 7. \u201cThey were allowed to order takeout and eat at the tables, but that was all.\u201d O\u2019Keeffe surmised the issue of outdoor dining at the Little Pub had more to do with its parking lot\u2019s proximity to Route 7 rather than COVID-19 restrictions. Moving forward, though, O\u2019Keeffe said he believes the restaurant could provide outdoor dining behind the building with ample social distancing measures and far enough away from the road. He hopes the eatery can get a chance to utilize the full scope of outdoor dining. \u201cAnything where we can receive an added interest in (patrons) coming to dine with us, that would help,\u201d O\u2019Keeffe said. \u201cGiven the parameters, we could make an enjoyable area for outdoor dining.\u201d He estimates the property could safely fit roughly 25 people. He said the restaurant isn\u2019t looking to add a \u201cmassive tent space,\u201d but a few extra seats to help stimulate business through the summer months. \u201cIt would be nice to have options, for people and us,\u201d he said. \u201cEspecially during the summer time.\u201d Marly\u2019s Bar and Bistro on Ridgefield Road shares the same sentiments. \u201cAt a time like this, every seat matters,\u201d owner Marc Avery said. The restaurant was mentioned by the town planner at the Planning and Zoning meeting as an eatery that would be able to utilize more space for its outdoor dining. Last year, Marly\u2019s was able to serve \u201cabout 40\u201d seats outside, according to Avery. \u201cOutdoor dining was fantastic until about October,\u201d he said. He said the restaurant is prepared to serve the same amount this year, but thinks that he can safely add a few more seats for patrons. Avery said some restaurants around town were allowed to use a few parking lot spaces to add extra seating, and he is hoping that Marly\u2019s will be approved to do the same, estimating that would add \u201cat least 12 seats\u201d to the outdoor dining area. Bianco Rosso\u2019s Lopez, who also owns Craft 14 in Wilton, said both restaurants utilized outdoor dining last year. Bianco Rosso\u2019s indoor capacity was cut by more than half, from 120 to 50, and Lopez said the roughly 45 outdoor seats played a huge role last year. When outdoor dining halted for the most part around November, he said patrons were less likely to dine at the restaurant if indoor dining was the only option.