HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that he has signed an executive order increasing the amount that businesses can be fined for violating state COVID-19 protocols.
Businesses violating the state’s COVID-19 rules and capacity limits can be fined $10,000 per violation. The new action goes into effect on Thursday, Nov. 26. This comes after feedback the governor received from municipal leaders, public health officials and people from within the business community.
“The sector rules and capacity limits we’ve implemented are intended to mitigate the spread of this disease to the greatest extent possible,” Governor Lamont said. “While the overwhelming majority of businesses in Connecticut have shown an incredible amount of leadership and have been fantastic partners in this front, we have seen a small number of businesses in flagrant violation of these public health rules, and that’s all you need to cause a super-spreading event that leads to a large number of cases and hospitalizations.”
Other fines that remain in effect include $500 for organizing an event over capacity limits, $250 for attending events over capacity limits, $100 for failure to wear a face mask or covering when in public and up to $500 for violations of the state’s travel advisory.
Representative Vincent Candelora, of North Branford, released a statement on the news, saying:
“This is a punch in the gut to the state’s business community, which for months has struggled with ever-changing and often confusing directives from the governor’s team. Scaring employers into compliance with the threat of a big fine isn’t what’s needed, and this path will only erode what little confidence they have in state government’s ability to help them through a period of recovery.”
The CT Restaurant Association Executive Director Scott Dolch also released a statement on the new fines:
The Governor himself has said that the vast majority of restaurants are doing what they’re supposed to in order to keep customers and employees safe. Our industry will continue to stand with him and call out anyone who isn’t following the rules. But if Connecticut is going to use fines as a stick, it should also use state grants as a carrot for restaurants that are following the rules while struggling to keep their doors open.
States all around us are implementing bigger grant programs than Connecticut for their small businesses right now because they know those businesses are vital to their state economies. Governor Lamont knows this too and even recently said that the state’s Rainy Day Fund could be a source of aid to help restaurants in need. So our simple question for Governor Lamont is this: ‘If we’re going to punish the few bad actors, how are we also going to help the many, many good actors?'”Scott Dolch, CT Restaurant Association Executive Director