Infographic by Maya Hruskar ’23
Outdoor business restrictions in Connecticut will be phased out on May 1, followed by indoor restrictions on May 19, Governor Ned Lamont announced in a press conference on April 19.
Movie theatres, restaurants and retail stores will be among the businesses impacted. The decision comes in light of rising vaccination rates and low infection rates across Connecticut.
“What we want to do on May 1 and May 19 is subject to looking at the numbers, looking at the infection rates in particular and looking at hospitalizations,” Lamont said in a press conference on April 19. “But so far in that last month or two months, we’ve been going in a good direction.”
On May 1, all outdoor COVID restrictions, including mask requirements, will be lifted. Alcohol without food will be allowed at restaurants, and the curfew will be pushed from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. Additionally, the outdoor eight person per table limit will be lifted.
“I really think this is the time we can do this [safely],” Lamont said. “And because we’re doing this outdoors, I have a great deal of confidence […] I think it’ll be really comfortable [and safe] to be outdoors.”
Though state requirements for COVID restrictions will be lifted, businesses are still encouraged and guaranteed the right to enforce their own requirements.
“Businesses have all the freedom in the world to do everything they can to give their customers confidence,” Lamont said. “And if they want to have a mask requirement, if they want to say ‘I want people to get tested,’ if they want to say ‘vaccinations,’ that’s up to the business.”
Predicated on safety in community infection rates, all Connecticut indoor business restrictions, excluding masks, will be lifted on May 19. This decision has sparked some controversy in regard to the necessity and safety of lifting restrictions.
“I don’t believe that restrictions for high risk areas should be lifted,” Viveca Schreiner ’23 said. “We’re so close to the end of this [pandemic], but not quite there.”
Amid these concerns, Lamont emphasized that Connecticut’s reopening will be cautious of any surges in cases. In light of the reopenings and subsequent infection spikes in states such as Texas and Florida, Lamont promises to avoid this outcome through approaching reopening as a gradual, receptive process.
“They tore off the masks, they said ‘let it rip,’ they gave people a certain disregard for the protocols,” Lamont said. “We’re not doing that. We’re saying, I think we’ve earned May first as a time where we can be outside […] and let’s see how it goes.”