Connecticut residents must fall in line or face fines

Groups of friends walk down Main Street in close proximity to each other and do not have masks covering their faces.
(Photo by Anna Diorio ’23)

A decision must be made. Connecticut residents must choose whether they care more about the well-being of others or their own sense of personal freedoms. On Sept. 15, Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order No. 9B, which authorized provisions including placing fines on those who fail to wear masks in public and who host or attend large gatherings. 

I support the approval of using financial penalties to reduce the impact and spread of COVID-19. Fines are just and reasonable given the potential consequences of noncompliance, and I do not believe they infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights.

According to, citizens will be charged $100 for not wearing protective facial coverings, $500 for hosting a gathering that violates regulations and $200 for attendance at one such event.

Fines are just and reasonable given the potential consequences of noncompliance, and I do not believe they infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights.

I understand that these fines may be seen as a financial strain for many. However, if people simply obey the legislation put into place to protect them, they will not be fined. It is unfortunate that we have to take such extensive measures, but at this point, it has become an essential step in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. 

Such measures have been taken in other states and have proven effective with little need to issue fines. According to Costa Mesa spokesman Tony Dodero, “Costa Mesa hasn’t fined anyone since instituting $100-and-up fines in late July for individuals not wearing a mask.”

Lamont’s previous provisions, which were implemented in public areas in April, were clearly not effective enough in getting Connecticut residents to obey the rules. Once summer started, many people became more lax in following such provisions, at times ignoring them entirely.

Increased compliance in Connecticut as a result of these new fines will make me feel safer when I run errands and during daily activities. When I go to school, I feel comforted knowing that every person in the building is wearing a mask, and every surface is being disinfected. I would also like to feel the same outside of school.

Many people argue that mask mandates are “unconstitutional” and violate their First Amendment rights. These objections are unfounded.

The First Amendment safeguards a citizen’s freedom of speech, the rights of the press, ability to petition, right of assembly and freedom of religion. Mask mandates and other health measures do not encroach upon these freedoms. 

In the federal court case Koa v. Hogan, the court stated that “[r]equiring necessary protective equipment be worn to engage in certain public activities is simply not the equivalent of mandating expressive conduct.” 

Additionally, according to constitutional law scholar John E. Finn, “[i]f they do not discriminate on the basis of the content of the speech, such restrictions do not violate the First Amendment.”

I agree with this statement because these protective measures aren’t a matter of rights, but instead, more urgently, of health and safety.This executive order will be a vital step in enforcing these laws and in making people realize that they need to take this issue seriously. In addition, COVID-19 won’t last forever, so I urge Connecticut’s residents to fall in line or face a fine.