HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont has announced that Connecticut is rolling back to Phase 2.1 at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6.
The announcement came earlier in the week after Massachusetts announced a similar roll back.
Lamont said due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, he is issuing mandatory changes to restaurants, event venues, performing arts, movie theaters, and religious gatherings.
“We do have the ability to control the spread,” Lamont said. “We do have the ability to bend the curve, and we will do everything we can in our power to do that.”
He said restaurants will be moving back to 50% capacity, with a maximum of eight people per table. Indoor and outdoor dining was originally going to close at 9:30 p.m. But on Friday evening, News 8 confirmed it would now close by 10 p.m.; however, takeout and delivery will be allowed past that time.
WATCH: Business owners react to Phase 2.1
The 10 p.m. closing time also affects other businesses including bowling alleys, event venues, and theaters.
Event venues must now cap indoor capacity at 25 and outdoor at 50. Movie theaters and performing arts will be capped at 100 people.
Religious gatherings will move back to 50% capacity with a maximum of 100 people. Virtual services are encouraged.
Employers are reminded to maximize telework, and those over 60 and with chronic conditions are urged to remain home as much as possible.
With cases on the rise, Lamont encouraged people to wear masks while at the polls on Tuesday, even though they’re not mandatory.
Throughout the pandemic, Lamont and regional partners have worked in tandem to curb an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Lamont said he’s also kept an eye on what’s been happening in Europe, which has been a few weeks ahead of the United States in relation to the virus.
He said instead of thinking how we respond on a community by community basis, he’s
thinking more about how we respond on a statewide basis. He said a main goal with moving to Phase 2.1 is to keep schools open.
“We are trying to stay ahead of the curve just for that reason,” If we take these precautions now, it makes it much more likely that our businesses stay open, much more likely that our schools will stay open.”
“The reason we feel like acting now is appropriate is to avoid the larger shutdown later. So we are watching very closely what’s happening in Europe and we want to avoid it,” added Commissioner David Lehman. “So, we think taking these measures now is a step to do just that.”
Lamont received praise for his decision from state leaders like Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
“Given the serious and sustained increase in coronavirus transmission, Governor Lamont’s decision to move back to a modified version of Phase 2 on a statewide basis is the right way to respond, rather than leaving a patchwork of local restrictions,” said Mayor Bronin. “In a state as small as Connecticut, what happens in any community affects every other community, and we need to work together to contain this spread because we’ve seen what happens when we get to a level of uncontrolled transmission…”
However, he also received criticism from the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA).
“They didn’t ask for this,” Scott Dolch, Executive Director of the CRA. “They’ve had to walk into this as business owners being asked to shut down, then you could have outdoor dining, then you could have partial indoor dining, and then you can get all the way to Phase 3, now you have to go back.”
Brian Virtue, owner of Christopher Martins in New Haven, said while he understands scale back to keep people safe, it’s just one more dig at an already struggling industry.
“We had just brought a couple people back the last round. It was nice. We thought we were moving in the right direction and now…everybody’s gonna go to part-time work. You gotta do what you’re told, so we’re gonna roll back and close up [early].”
Dolch said the government needs to award more money to restaurant owners who are struggling.
“For the vast majority, they’ve done everything asked. They’ve invested more dollars than need be to protect their employees and customers, and I think in return we’re hopeful the state realizes that and help us make it through.”