Connecticut towns prepare for Phase 1 reopening of economy amid COVID-19 pandemic

Connecticut

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — On Wednesday, May 20, some businesses have the chance to reopen in Connecticut as part of Governor Ned Lamont’s reopen plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Restaurants will be able to have outdoor dining, hair cutting can begin, some offices will be back online, and malls and museums will open. The state will create a new normal after a two-month shutdown, but are towns ready to handle the new rules? The state’s Reopening Advisory Board wants to make sure businesses opening are following the restrictions and guidelines they’ve put in place.

For instance, any retail business and malls must follow an increased demand for cleaning and sanitizing. Retail stores and malls must implement physical barriers at checkouts partitions between employees and customers, at hand sanitizer at entrances, social distancing markers and both employees and customers must have masks or facial coverings at all times.

On May 20, just days away, restaurants can start serving outdoors. Salons and barbershops can start clipping away your hair.

And until further notice, 30 minute parking is free on Main Street in West Hartford Center.

Workers at World of Beers in West Hartford are rebuilding the outdoor patio.

“There’s mixed emotions on whether they will be comfortable,” said Mayor Shari Cantor, West Hartford.

Mayor Cantor says health data will drive decisions.

“We actually had some initial higher numbers from students coming back from study abroad. They brought it back and families were exposed,” Cantor explained.

West Hartford and Bloomfield share a health district. Cantor says it’s the 11 private schools, which loaned their nurses to track and trace, have made a big difference.

Mayor Shari Cantor said, “we started doing contract tracing right away so that was at least a better way to manage and understand where it was coming from.”

In Manchester, Cafe Aura’s famous owner, UCONN Women’s Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma, is zigging and zagging to figure out if there can be limited indoor dining. He says the 150,000 restaurant workers around the state want to serve.

“Yes, there’s people collecting unemployment, no one wants to do that. People want to go to work. Give people a glimmer…give us an idea, give us something to look forward to,” said Auriemma.

In New Haven, Salvatore Gagliardi the owner of Temple Grill told News 8 Sunday, “It feels good [to reopen]. Even though it’s only 30-35 people out here compared to the whole place, it’s better than nothing. It’s been a tough couple of months.”

The state is asking businesses to self certify new protocols. A COVID-19 Connecticut Prevention badge goes in the window as a signal to help consumer confidence

To learn more about the business badge, click here.

Customer “social rules” for business allowed to reopen as part of phase 1 include:

  • Face masks/coverings to be worn by both customers and employees at all times
  • Gathering sizes limited to five people
  • People aged 65 and up or who have high risk factors for COVID are “encouraged” to stay home.

The operating rules for a Phase 1 business:

  • Maximum 50% capacity of physical space
  • Rearranging physical space to maintain six feet of social distance
  • Ready availability of hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes for customers and staff
  • Frequent cleaning of high contact areas and restrooms.
  • Salons and barbershops are by appointment only with no one allowed to wait in a waiting room.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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