Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday, March 4, that in the coming days he plans to revise some requirements and restrictions that were implemented in Connecticut at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when it comes to those relating to capacity levels and travel restrictions.
“Connecticut has earned it. You know, it’s been tough. People have been frustrated and they’ve been sheltered at home and a lot of our businesses really suffered and people took a hit. I’ve felt that more than most. So I’ll tell you, it feels pretty good,” he said.
Lamont pointed to case metrics that he said continue to drop. The previous day’s positivity rate was 1.85% with 878 new cases reported and 433 people hospitalized–what he said was the lowest it’s been in many months. The decreasing metrics are a trend Lamont said his administration has been “watching carefully, and we see it has continued.”
He also credited the decision to roll back restrictions on the pace the state is vaccinating residents. Over one million doses have been administered state-wide; 74% of people over age 75 have received their first vaccine dose; 59% of people age 65-74 have gotten their first dose; and 17% of people age 55-64 have had the first dose administered. With educator clinics happening around the state, Lamont said the timeline for future phases is “on track.”
The governor stressed that while some of these restrictions are being eased, all of the protocols that relate to face coverings, social distancing, and cleaning measures are being maintained, and people and businesses are urged to continue adhering to those health and safety procedures.
“While it is encouraging to see the number of cases in our state gradually going down and people getting vaccinated at rates that are among the highest in the nation, we need to continue taking this virus seriously to mitigate its spread as much as possible,” Governor Lamont said. “Please continue to wear face coverings in public and when around other people outside of your households, maintain social distancing, and keep washing your hands and cleaning surfaces. Connecticut has made tremendous strides to combat this pandemic, and we don’t want to lose the progress that we’ve made.”
The governor made his announcement at his late afternoon press briefing Thursday. Municipal leaders around the state were hearing what the governor was adjusting for the first time. How the changes will be integrated locally into protocols set by Wilton’s Health Department are still to be determined, according to First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice.
“There is a lot to unpack in this announcement and I think the reason why he’s giving everyone two weeks notice is because there’s so much there,” she said.
Protocols that will remain in effect until further notice include:
- Face coverings and masks continue to be required
- Bars that only serve beverages continue to remain closed
- 11 p.m. closing time remains in place for events at venues, restaurants, and entertainment
- Indoor theaters continue to have a 50% capacity
- Large event venues (e.g. stadiums) to open in April
The protocols that will be revised in the coming days include:
Beginning Friday, March 19, 2021
- All capacity limits will be eliminated for the following businesses, while face coverings, social distancing, and other cleaning and disinfecting protocols will continue to be required:
- Restaurants (8-person table capacity and 11 p.m. required closing time for dining rooms continues)
- Personal services
- Indoor recreation (excludes theaters, which will continue to have a 50% capacity)
- Gyms/fitness centers
- Museums, aquariums, and zoos
- Houses of worship
- Gathering sizes will be revised to the following amounts:
- Social and recreational gatherings at a private residence – 25 indoors/100 outdoors
- Social and recreational gatherings at commercial venues – 100 indoors/200 outdoors
- All sports will be allowed to practice and compete, and all sports tournaments will be allowed, subject to Department of Public Health guidance
- Connecticut’s travel advisory will be modified from a requirement to recommended guidance
Beginning Monday, March 29, 2021
- Capacity limits on early childhood classes will increase from 16 to 20
Beginning Friday, April 2, 2021
- Outdoor amusement parks can open
- Outdoor event venues can increase to a 50% capacity, capped at 10,000 people
- Indoor stadiums can open at 10% capacity
- Summer camps and summer festivals are advised to begin the planning stages to open for the upcoming season