Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont recently announced that Connecticut will lift all coronavirus-related capacity limits on restaurants and other businesses in two weeks. The state has had a coronavirus positivity rate of 1.86%, with 15 daily deaths from the virus. About 21.3% of the population had received their first vaccine shot.
Starting on March 19, houses of worship, retail stores, gyms, hair salons, and other spaces will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity. Sports with indoor stadiums will also be allowed to reopen at 10% capacity starting April 2.
Masks and face coverings would continue to be required and bars that serve only beverages would remain closed. Theaters would continue to operate at 50% capacity and restaurants would still have to close by 11 p.m. and limit tables to eight people. Additionally, the state’s 10-day quarantine for incoming travelers will not be an advisory, rather than mandatory.
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“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,” Gov Lamont said.
Gov. Lamont had previously scheduled to begin reopening the economy in May but noted that Connecticut has made “tremendous strides” to combat the pandemic, but that he didn’t want to lose the progress they’ve made. He told people to continue to wear face coverings in public and when around people outside their households, maintain social distancing, and keep washing their hands and cleaning surfaces.
The announcement comes after a number of states started easing restrictions. While Connecticut is the most prominent blue state to lift capacity limits, Gov. Lamont said in a press conference that his state was “not the same.” “This is not Texas. This is not Mississippi. This is Connecticut. We are maintaining the masks,” he added.
The announcement followed that of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who lifted all coronavirus pandemic restrictions in his state after seeing a decrease in coronavirus infection and death rates. He said declining hospitalization rates and increased distribution of virus vaccines were reasons to end the coronavirus restrictions, adding that “people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate.”
President Biden has warned states lifting restrictions that the only way we are able to fundamentally change the nature of the disease is by getting “vaccines in people’s arms. I thought we were just supposed to be “following the science?”