The state will lift capacity restrictions for many businesses starting March 19, the governor announced Thursday, though guidelines on masks, spacing and cleaning protocols will remain in effect.
Capacity limits will no longer apply in restaurants and non-theater indoor recreation, though there will still be an 11 p.m. curfew and an eight-person table limit. They are also lifting capacity restrictions at libraries, museums, gyms/fitness centers, retail & offices, personal services and houses of worship. Bars still remain closed.
Movie theaters and performing arts venues will still have 50% capacity.
The state is also adjusting recommendations for social and recreational gatherings - allowing 25 people indoors at private residences and 100 outdoors. As previously announced, commercial venues will be allowed 100 people outdoors and 200 indoors with an 11 p.m. curfew.
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Sports will be allowed to practice and compete, subject to Department of Public Health guidance, and tournaments will be allowed.
Following a successful first step of reopening, the state will also allow reopenings at outdoor amusement parks, outdoor event venues (with a 50% capacity limit, capped at 10,000 people), and indoor stadiums (with a 10% capacity limit) on April 2. They are planning ahead in hopes to see summer camps and summer festivals open this season as well.
The state's travel advisory will also change from a mandate to a recommendation.
"I think Connecticut has earned it," Lamont said of the reopening plans, which he announced nearly a year after he first announced coronavirus closures in March 2020.
The governor noted that it appears the vaccine is working to keep the numbers lower and make it safer to reopen. He also pointed out that the variances are still a risk factor that they are watching as they make the decision to reopen.
Latest Coronavirus Numbers
The governor said these changes come amid positive trends in the coronavirus metrics.
The state's COVID-19 test positivity rate came in at 1.86% Thursday, with 47,132 new tests identifying 878 new cases. There are 433 people currently hospitalized with the virus, a net decrease of 18 from the day before. The governor said these are some of the lowest numbers the state has seen in months.
However, 15 new deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 7,693.
Houses of worship can now hold up to 50% of capacity with no limit.
Who Can Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in Connecticut
- The state started the vaccine rollout in mid-December by vaccinating healthcare personnel, long-term care facility residents and medical first responders.
- As of mid-January, Connecticut residents 75 and older have been able to sign up for an appointment and get a vaccine.
- Connecticut residents between the ages of 65 and 74 can sign up and get an appointment.
- Pre-K-12 Teachers, paraprofessionals, custodial staff, food service providers, school bus drivers and childcare providers as well as in-school administrative staff. This group does not include individuals who are not required to work on-site in a school.
- Note: Pre-K-12 school staff and teachers, and professional child care providers will be eligible for the vaccine. People in this group will be vaccinated at dedicated clinics
- Residents and employees within the State of CT who are 55+