Connecticut restaurants to toast as restrictions end, customers vaccinated – We-Ha



The Connecticut Drinks on Us initiative has just started, but it is likely that many West Hartford establishments will participate.

By Hugh McQuaid,

Starting May 19, hundreds of Connecticut restaurants will offer a free drink to customers who order food and can prove they have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, Governor Ned Lamont said Monday.

The program, organized by the Connecticut Restaurant Association and promoted by the state, aims to encourage both vaccine uptake and restaurant sponsorship in the state. Lamont announced it during a press briefing.

“It’s called – have a little fun here – Connecticut drinks on usLamont said. “You come in, you have something to eat, you get a free drink. It could be a lemonade, could be a cool gel. Probably not their high-priced champagne, but we’re doing everything we can to get you to know that if you’ve been vaccinated, come in.

Scott Dolch, executive director of the restaurant association, said hundreds of businesses had registered to participate on Monday, just hours after hearing about it. He expects turnout to increase before May 19.

“For us, it’s really about thanking everyone who was vaccinated, who made that decision,” Dolch said. “We wouldn’t be where we are as a state without the residents of Connecticut who were making this decision and getting us to this point.

Participating restaurants will foot the bill for free drinks, but Dolch said the requirement that customers purchase food to qualify helps ensure restaurants don’t lose too much revenue on the promotion, which is expected to run until ‘to May 31.

The program kicks off the same day Connecticut lifts most of its COVID-19 public health restrictions, including all of its restrictions on restaurants and bars. It also stems from the fact that vaccine supply has eclipsed demand and government officials are beginning to consider ways to encourage adoption among the unvaccinated population. Dolch said the promotion grew out of conversations on the subject last week with the Lamont administration.

As of Monday, two-thirds of adults in Connecticut had received at least one dose of a vaccine, Lamont said. Meanwhile, the administration announced that more than 50 providers in the state no longer needed appointments to administer a vaccine.

“The transition from clinics across the state to a walk-in method that does not require an appointment in advance is part of our continued goal to make vaccination as easy as possible,” said Lamont. “If you have not yet received a vaccination, there are many opportunities.”

For a list of walk-in providers, visit state website.

Republished with permission from, all rights reserved.

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