CONNECTICUT — Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday announced some reopening phase rollbacks that will reduce capacity at restaurants, movie theaters and events. Lamont joined other Northeast governors in tightening rules meant to tamp down the spread of the coronavirus. The new rules go into effect Friday.
State officials are also advising people to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The state reported 2,651 new coronavirus cases over the weekend and a positive test rate of 3.4 percent. Hospitalizations increased by 11 up to 340.
Restaurant indoor dining capacity will be rolled back to 50 percent, with a maximum of eight people per table. Restaurants will also have to close by 9:30 p.m.
“Look I’m sorry, almost all the restaurants are doing a good job but there have been some problems,” Lamont said during a news conference. He added that the state’s increased coronavirus activity means more people are dining while unknowingly being infected.
Event venues will be limited to 25 guests indoors and 50 outdoors. Lamont mentioned the shutdown of Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven after the venue hosted a large Halloween party in defiance of coronavirus rules.
Lamont thanked New Haven and Bridgeport officials for shutting down establishments that he said flagrantly violated the rules.
“You could ruin it for everybody by not enforcing these rules,” he said.
Personal services like hair salons can stay at 75 percent capacity. Religious gatherings will be limited to 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 100 people.
Lamont’s announcement is a reversal of a previous decision to handle coronavirus spread on a town-by-town basis. He expanded indoor dining capacity to 75 percent indoors in early October and then allowed towns in the state’s “red zone” for coronavirus spread to revert to the second reopening phase guidelines if they chose. That was then expanded to towns in the state’s “orange zone.”
Lamont's hope is that the new rules will slow the spread of the virus, allowing schools to stay open.
The new rules mirror those that were recently established in Massachusetts. Gov. Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory that asks residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless going to work or running critical errands like getting groceries or medicine. Restaurants need to stop in-person dining service at 9:30 p.m. and other businesses, including movie theaters and gyms, need to close by that time.
Connecticut will keep its coronavirus travel advisory rules in place for now, unlike New York. Connecticut and Massachusetts officials are working on a resolution after Massachusetts put Connecticut on its travel quarantine list.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued new quarantine rules for out-of-state travelers. Travelers need to quarantine for 14 days or get multiple coronavirus tests to exit quarantine early. Essential workers and residents of states next to New York, including Connecticut, are exempt.