HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State officials have announced that those who violate an executive order put in place during the pandemic will be fined.
The new fines include:
- $100 for violating the mask order (not wearing a mask while not social distancing. Those with a written doctor’s note are exempt).
- $250 for attending an event that exceeds the size limit (25 indoor, 100 outdoor).
- $500 for organizing an event that exceeds the size limit.
Officials said businesses will take responsibility for their employees and individuals are responsible for their own actions.
Fines can be issued by law enforcement, local chief elected official designees and local public health officials.
Josh Geballe, COO of the Lamont administration, said the change came after a request from mayors, health directors, municipal leaders and more.
“The first tool that those municipal partners have is a misdemeanor, which could mean an arrest of someone,” he explained. “The consequence to that was there wasn’t really much that was being done because many people view that as excessively harsh for failing to wear a mask if they can’t socially distance.”
“So that public health officials and police at the local level can enforce it,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.
Geballe said it was “step down in punishment” for violators.
Governor Ned Lamont added that it would be easier to implement than an arrest.
Connecticut’s coronavirus rates are some of the lowest in the country but still there’s been an uptick for nearly a week, prompting state officials to hand out free masks at bus and train stations in New Haven Tuesday.
“We just want people to comply. And that’s why we’re out today distributing masks,” said Bysiewicz.
Lamont signed the executive order on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, people we caught up with have mixed feelings about masks and associated fines.
“This is very important for us to wear. And those that choose not to wear since this is a free state, should have the responsibility of getting fined for jeopardizing everyone else around them,” said Anthony Matos, East Hartford.
“We’re protecting ourselves. It’s just the fact that the kids have to do this and have to go to school and have to learn with it on. It’s probably hindering them in some type of way,” said Titus Lumpkin, Hartford.