CONNECTICUT, USA — FOX61 caught up with Governor Ned Lamont at a meeting with mayors and town officials among the Connecticut Conference on Municipalities (CCM) on the eve before the state lifts many of its COVID-19 restrictions.
"Tomorrow is one year since we started opening up. It was one year ago we said outdoor dining only wearing a mask," said Gov. Lamont. "Now, a year later no mask at all for anybody outside, you've earned it. Inside, no mask unless you haven't been vaccinated. We're opening up the restaurants, no capacity limits at all, no curfews. I'd like to think Connecticut has earned the right to really get back to normal."
Arik Verab is a server at Te Amo Tequila and Taco Bar in New Haven. He's excited for the state of Connecticut to lift COVID restrictions starting Wednesday.
"We used to close at 10 pm, now we're going to be going until two in the morning. It is a big change and we're getting back out and ready," said Verab.
Starting Wednesday there won't be any capacity limits at restaurants across the state of Connecticut. If you are outside you do not need to wear a mask. Inside, those vaccinated aren't required to wear masks. If you're not fully vaccinated masks are a must. Te Amo Tequila Bar and Taco is airing on the side of caution along Temple Street in New Haven.
"We are going to require masks inside. It keeps us all safe, and we will do it for a couple more months," Verab said.
Verab added financially, the lifting of certain restrictions will help his wallet.
Universal masking according to state officials will be up to businesses, state and local governments as well as events. Next door at Prime 16, staff members told FOX61, they will be relying on patrons to use the honor system.
Kevin Bryar is the Assistant General Manager at Prime 16 spoke on the mask mandate for unvaccinated people.
"If you're vaccinated feel free not to wear a mask inside if you're not vaccinated for the safety of everyone around you and yourself, keep the mask on, everyone safe and responsible. And if anyone doesn't feel comfortable we're going to set aside certain areas to make sure people are masked and dividers," Bryar said.
New haven Mayor Justin Elicker says his employees are going to continue wearing their masks, adding that people remain in a tough situation and they should do what makes them feel comfortable as the city works to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
Elicker said, "Because the cases in New Haven are relatively high and our vaccination rate is relatively low, we want to be cautious."
Kids at school are required to wear masks through the end of the year, Governor Lamont added, saying it is possible there won't be a mask requirement at schools come fall.
"If we gave an overwhelming majority of our kids ages middle school and up vaccinated we will be fine, we won't need a mask or anything, if we're finding people hesitant and there are quarantine issues, we will have to take a second look, and if not vaccinated, maybe quarantine. But, we're not there yet," Lamont added.
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