HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Thursday that Connecticut will be easing back on certain COVID-19 restrictions, including travel requirements and capacity limits in some public places.
The governor said during his afternoon press conference that the restrictions will be rolled back starting March 19.
All capacity limits for businesses like retail, libraries, gyms/fitness centers, and Houses of Worship will be eliminated but face coverings and social distancing will still be required.
Restaurants will be able to have an eight-person table capacity but will still be required to close dining rooms at 11 p.m.
“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,” 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."
He continued: "Connecticut has made tremendous strides to combat this pandemic, and we don’t want to lose the progress that we’ve made.”
Gathering sizes will also be revised in the next few weeks as well. Private residences can now have 25 people meet indoors and 100 people meet outdoors.
The governor said in an appearance on CNN that people should continue to wear a mask if they are among 25 people they don't know and haven't been vaccinated.
"I can't mandate common sense so people are going to use their judgment. But, 25 was a reasonable number and if something happened, we can track and trace," he continued.
Social and recreational gatherings at commercial venues will also increase to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors.
In the coming weeks, more revisions to the state's COVID-19 restrictions will be implemented. On March 29, capacity limits on early childhood classes will increase from 16 to 20.
Starting on April 2, outdoor amusement parks can open and outdoor events venues can increase to a 50% capacity, capped at 10,00 people. Indoor stadiums can open at 10% capacity.
Summer camps and summer festivals are being told to begin the planning stages to open for the upcoming season.
Connecticut's travel advisory will be modified from a requirement to recommended guidance.
Lamont added during his press conference the loosening of restrictions comes at a time when Connecticut's COVID-19 metrics are steadily improving. Since people in the state started getting vaccinated, COVID-19 related deaths have declined.
According to Lamont, the state chose to make eligibility for the vaccine by age because of trends related to the virus and its impact.
"Age is closely correlated to public health, comorbidities, complications, you know, the overwhelming majority of the people who have suffered, you know, fatalities, 98%, 99% are over the age of 55," Lamont said. "If it got really complicated, some people could cut the line. I thought in the interest of fairness, simplicity was important. But remember, we're taking the vaccine right to the northeast underserved communities. Very deliberately, allocating 25% of the vaccines to make sure that no population is left behind."
On Thursday, Connecticut administered 47,133 tests and 878 came back positive. The positivity rate was 1.86%.
Hospitalizations decreased by 18 people since Wednesday bringing the total number of patients to 433. There were 15 COVID-19 reported deaths Thursday bringing the death toll to 7,693 people.
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