The Gathering Ground Embraces Stage-One “Outdoor Dining Only” on Restaurant Reopening Day

Wearing masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19, Shirley and Howie Nelson await breakfast outdoors at the Gathering Ground in Windsor Locks. The restaurant is also following guidelines by keeping tables at least six feet apart.

Gathering took on a new look at the Gathering Ground in Windsor Locks on May 20 – opening day of a four-stage plan for Connecticut restaurants and businesses to return to normal operations. The popular breakfast and lunch establishment, like all eateries in the state, had been limited to only take-out and curbside service since mid-March, due to state regulations meant to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

Owner Tony Kupec faced the most challenging criteria of stage-one restaurant reopening – outdoor dining – by raising a tent in the parking lot of his establishment. “Seats are very limited and we must adhere to the social distancing rules, but hey, at least you don’t have to eat in your car,” posted Tony on his Facebook account the night before reopening. 

Regular customers Howie and Shirley Nelson, were pleased to return to the Gathering Ground for breakfast the next day.  They had spent the earlier part of Connecticut’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” movement in Florida, returning to their Windsor Locks home in April. Out and about on opening day for restaurants, Howie said, “We’re starting to run out of projects.”

The Gathering Ground, which traditionally serves breakfast and lunch, has added Saturday dinner hours from 4:30 to 7:30pm.

Whitney Hunt delivers breakfast to customers in the outdoor dining area set up in the parking lot in front of the Gathering Ground restaurant.

By Laura Hayden

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