HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont has announced Connecticut’s businesses and restaurants will be shut down beginning Monday night due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Governor Lamont was joined by New York Andrew Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to announce the closures across the tri-state area. Officials say the establishments will close at 8 p.m. Monday and restaurants will only offer takeout and delivery service.
“The virus knows no borders,” Gov. Lamont said during the announcement. This uniform initiative is to highlight social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mangia Apizza in North Haven opened just a few months ago. Co-owner John Mongillo said the announcement hit hard.
“We do depend on the customers coming inside and dining,” he said. “Our dining room is always full on Friday and Saturday.”
Co-owner Stephen Galluzzi wants customers to know they are doing all they can to keep COVID-19 away.
“For our customers out there, with the delivery guys, we will be wearing gloves, having hand sanitizer all the time, so we’re doing the best we can,” he said. “People come first before any food or any business. That’s what America has to understand. We all come first.”
Restaurant and bar owners said they were devastated to get the news one day before St. Patrick’s Day but they also understand the health implications.
The sign on the door at the popular REPUBLIC restaurant in Hartford reads it is closed but will re-open Tuesday, that is because the owners are scrambling to reinvent a take out and delivery operation.
“Everybody works very hard but we are all in this together the whole world is dealing with this,” said Jared Cohen, Mill Restaurant Group.
The Mill Restaurant Group employs 550 workers around the area at a number of eateries.
News that Governor Ned Lamont was joining the other states to temporarily close bars and restaurants was shocking, but not unexpected.
“Some of the restaurants were slower than others; 40 to 50% of what we would normally do,” Cohen said.
He and other small business owners met with Senator Richard Blumenthal and Metro Hartford Alliance to talk about relief from the federal government.
Blumenthal said small businesses are the backbone of the economy and create more jobs than anyone else and they are critical in sustaining our economy “in this unprecedented challenge.”
One person found a way to bring a ray of light to those in the service industry.
Andrea Berkins, who owns Berkin Blend Coffee, said a man ordered a $4 bowl of soup and tipped $100.
All public events, including movie theaters and gyms, will also be closed Monday. Some services will be available with a max occupancy of 50 people as long as they adhere to social distancing. Restaurants have been closed until further notice and are coordinating an open date.
There are more than 8,500 eating and drinking establishments across Connecticut with more than 160,000 people employed.
“Don’t even think of going to a neighboring state,” Gov. Cuomo added.
Cafeterias will remain open and coordinate pick-up meals. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open.
Officials will be working with online scholastic services to maintain education and keep students at home.
Gov. Cuomo said he and the other governors will be reaching out to Pennsylvania, Massachusettes and Rhode Island to join the effort to take similar coronavirus precautions.
As of Monday, the following coronavirus cases were confirmed in Connecticut:
- Fairfield County: 29 confirmed cases
- Hartford County: 4 confirmed cases
- Litchfield County: 4 confirmed cases
- New Haven County: 4 confirmed cases