HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Just 24 hours after detailing the seven criteria the state needs to hit to reopen, leaders announced the guidelines restaurants, retailers, hair salons and offices need to meet.
State leaders said those businesses are not required to open on May 20, but owners are allowed to if they decide that’s what best for their business.
Connecticut Lieutenant Governor, Susan Bysiewicz, said no one should feel pressured to reopen, adding that one of the state’s main goals is to keep employees and consumers safe.
“This is not a mandate; we hear loud and clear your concerns about your competition opening down the street, and you’ve not opened,” Bysiewicz said. “We want you to feel comfortable. We want your clients to feel comfortable. So, we are looking forward to continuing this conversation [about the guidelines to keep employees and customers safe].”
When out in public, people must wear masks and practice social distancing — the reopening does not change that requirement. Gatherings can only have five people maximum, and leaders urge those 65 and older or those who are considered high-risk to stay home.
Below are the guideless each business must meet to reopen:
Restaurants will be allowed to do takeout or outdoor dining only — bars will remain closed. Outdoor capacity will be capped at 50%. Play areas and dance floors will also remain closed.
Tables must be placed six feet apart, and tables and chairs must be sanitized between diners. Restaurants must supply disposable (paper) or digital menus or have them displayed on a whiteboard/chalkboard. Silverware must be packaged or rolled, and a contactless payment method is preferred at checkout.
High contact areas and bathrooms must be cleaned frequently, and hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes need to be available at the entrance and exit.
Employees are required to wear masks or cloth face coverings. Servers need to wear disposable gloves — which need to be changed frequently. Customers will also have to wear masks or cloth coverings except when eating.
Like restaurants, hair salons must be kept to 50% of the building’s capacity. Waiting rooms must be kept closed, and services will be by appointment only. A contactless payment method is preferred.
Work stations must be kept six feet apart with physical barriers placed wherever possible. Where six feet of separation is not possible, barriers will be acceptable, according to Friday’s announcement. Also, tools need to be soaked in disinfectant between clients. Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes must be available at entrance points, and high contact areas and bathrooms must be cleaned frequently.
Employees are to wear masks and face shields or eye protection. Customers must wear masks as well. Each client must be given a clean smock to wear.
Originally, officials said stylists would not be allowed to use blow dryers over concerns of moving possible contaminants around. On Monday, May 11, Governor Lamont’s office said they will be permitted on the reopen date. Salons are encouraged to increase ventilation and airflow where possible.
Nail salons, which were initially allowed to reopen on May 20, must remain closed.
Retailers must cap capacity at 50% and keep dressing rooms and self-serve counters closed. Markers indicating six feet must be placed on checkout lines. Physical barriers must also be placed at checkout areas. Contactless payment methods are preferred at the register.
High contact areas such as carts, baskets, door handles, credit card machines and bathrooms must be cleaned frequently. Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes must be available at entrance points.
Employees and consumers are required to wear face masks at all times.
Offices should be used in cases when work from home is not possible. If in use, the facility may not pass 50% capacity. Meetings will be limited to five people, and employees must be kept six feet apart. Physical partitions should be placed where possible, and people are asked to restrict elevator capacity.
Masks are to be worn at all times unless the person is in a private office. Employers are asked to increase ventilation and airflow when possible.
Officials said more information on cleaning would be coming soon.
Some stylists said they understand the need to be safe but feel like some of the rules compromise their work.
“Especially with no blow drying, if you’re going to give somebody a haircut, I cut and dry without a dry, it is a sad experience to only do our job halfway,” said Dante Birritteri of Headmasters.
“I am so happy the governor said no blow drying, and not because the client is going to be leaving with a wet head, but it’s for our safety,” said stylist Jill Morrison.
Other businesses will be allowed to open in later phases. Governor Ned Lamont told News 8 that sometime in June would be decision day for phase two.
“What I envision is the reopening committee says we are going to take a second look and give guidance. Based on the facts on the ground, early June…maybe June 20 is our next decision point. Maybe a little earlier, [it] depends where we are. We are learning all the time.”
Museums and Zoos (Outdoor only)
Connecticut museums and zoos will be permitted to open their outdoor exhibits; all interactive and indoor exhibits must remain closed.
Gift shops and indoor food places will also remain closed, however, outdoor food counters are permitted to operate.
Guided group tours are not permitted at this time.
Employees should avoid sharing tools. If they need to share tools, it must be cleaned after each use.
Attendants must calculate and enforce the maximum capacity per exhibition area where possible. Social distancing must be enforced with visual markers to encourage visitors to remain six feet apart.
Attendants are to remain at the same workstation during their shift to minimize movement. Where possible, physical barriers must be installed for ticket counters.
Attendants are also asked to train employees to follow cleaning protocols under OSHA standards. If any onsite duties are subcontracted, the employer is responsible for ensuring those subcontractors are appropriately trained.