‘We are on our way back!’: Communities begin to rebuild one week after state loosens COVID-19 restrictions


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– It’s been one week since the state loosened its COVID-19 restrictions. On Wednesday, Governor Ned Lamont, industry leaders, and business owners highlighted what’s changed as communities continue to rebuild.

“We are on our way back!” said Gerry Grate, owner of the Tobacco Shop in Hartford. “I see the populous returning.”

Gerry Grate, owner of The Tobacco Shop in Hartford, said he’s seeing more people return to downtown daily.

“It’s exciting for me and it’s exciting for all the vendors on Pratt Street,” said Grate. “I’ll feel really good when we see these buildings fill up with the corporate community again.”

The shift coincided with the state loosening COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s been a difficult year for everyone, but we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Julio Concepcion, Executive Director of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin told News 8 they’re looking ahead towards recovery.

“I think you can feel a palpable sense of energy,” explained Mayor Bronin. “People are hungry to come back together, hungry to go out to eat, but also to celebrate — to dance, to hear music. We’re going to do everything we can to support that.”

Governor Lamont also encouraged residents to get out and get back into their communities.

“This is a time where Connecticut is open, ready for business, and we want you coming back!” said Governor Lamont.

He said Connecticut is making great improvements when it comes to infection and vaccination rates, unemployment numbers, businesses reopening, and tourism. He believes this will only continue as we work to put the pandemic in the past. 

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