Connecticut is lifting all COVID-19 restrictions May 19, except for wearing face masks in public indoor spaces.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced the end of the restrictions at an April 19 press conference, outlining a two-step approach dependent on a continued decline in virus cases and increasing vaccination rates.
Beginning May 1, the administration will end all outdoor restrictions, including allowing bars to operate outdoors without serving food, and the 11 pm curfew will move to midnight.
All restrictions on businesses essentially end May 19, with bars permitted to operate indoors, event venue and stadium capacity limits removed, and social distancing requirements eliminated.
The state Department of Public Health will issue recommendations for large indoor and outdoor events.
“I think we’ve earned May 1 as a time we can be outside,” Lamont said. “And let’s see how it goes. Assuming it goes well, May 19 we can open up some more.”
Connecticut's COVID-19 positivity rate has settled below 3% over the last week, and the governor said the state's best defense against the virus is widespread vaccinations.
More than half of all Connecticut residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the state among the leaders in the country for per capita vaccinations.
Lamont said the mask mandate will remain in place, although his emergency powers expire May 20. The General Assembly could adopt that mandate and others through legislation.
“I think we’re going to mandate that you continue to wear the mask in school," he said. "Probably we’re going to require indoor masking a little longer, until you’re vaccinated."
CBIA's Chris DiPentima said the reopening decision was a major milestone, following "a long, difficult, and uncertain 14 months."
"I can't emphasize enough the significance of this news," he said.
"Connecticut is opening up and the timing couldn't be better—a broad rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, warmer weather, and an economy that is ready to hum again.
"We still face a number of challenges, but working together, as we have these past 14 months, we can address them successfully."