Fairfield's Phase 1 reopening sees reduced but steady stream of customers

FAIRFIELD — Fairfield joined the rest of the state with a limited reopening Wednesday after more than two months of coronavirus restrictions.

Carefully spaced residents dined on restaurant patios and went shopping in retail stores, and many seemed happy to be out and about.

In a memo, First Selectwoman Brenda Kuphick said the town worked directly with the business community to share and assist with the state's safety protocols.

“We ask that our residents who patronize our businesses be respectful of those guidelines that are in place,” Kupchick said. “For example, please wear a face covering and also keep a safe physical distance from those outside your immediate household.”

As the town starts to reopen, Kupchick said some restaurants have acquired permits to expand their outdoor space or create new outdoor seating to comply with the state's directives against indoor seating. She said customers are required to wear masks except when eating and reservations are preferred to avoid crowds gathering outside.

At Centro Ristorante and Bar on Wednesday, owner Susan Dederick said she was not sure how to feel about reopening, adding that she expected it to be hit or miss. She said she thinks it will go well as long as people abide by health guidelines.

Rich Herzfeld, the owner of Chef’s Table, said on Wednesday afternoon that the day had gone great so far. He said they had a big breakfast rush and sat people at tables outside. According to Herzfeld, downtown Fairfield was quiet overall.

The First Selectwoman said all social and recreational gatherings of more than five people continue to be prohibited as are religious, spiritual and worship gatherings of more than 50 people. She said those restrictions remain in effect until June 20, unless modified earlier.

She also said she would be holding a press conference Friday with Police Chief Chris Lyddy, Fire Chief Denis McCarthy and Health Director Sands Cleary to outline an updated protocols for town open spaces.

As of Wednesday, the Fairfield Health Department reports that 543 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus and 102 residents have died with the disease. Of the deaths, more than 89 percent were people living in nursing homes. The department reports that 247 residents have either recovered or are assumed to have recovered.