Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order Nov. 24 raising the maximum penalty on businesses that violate the state's emergency COVID-19 rules from $500 to $10,000.
The executive order goes into effect from 12:01 am Thanksgiving Day. The governor said the surge in coronavirus cases across the state drove the decision to increase penalties.
“While the overwhelming majority of businesses in Connecticut have shown an incredible amount of leadership and have been fantastic partners in this front, we have seen a small number of businesses in flagrant violation of these public health rules, and that’s all you need to cause a super-spreading event that leads to a large number of cases and hospitalizations.”
Fines can be issued by municipal health directors, with the support of local police departments, while the state’s other penalties governing capacity limits and face masks remain in effect.
Those other fines include $500 for organizing an event over capacity limits, $250 for attending over-capacity events, $100 for not wearing a face mask in public, and up to $500 for violations of the state’s travel advisory.
Lamont issued an executive order Sept. 15 authorizing those initial penalties, with employers liable for employee non-compliance.
The state tightened restrictions Nov. 6, requiring restaurants and entertainment and venues to close at 10 pm and limiting indoor capacity to 50%.
Retailers were also limited to 50% capacity, and all customers and employees must wear face masks.
“Particularly as we approach Black Friday and the start of the holiday shopping season, we want to stress the importance of following public health protocols to protect both customers and workers,” Lamont said.
“Working together, we can get the spread of COVID-19 under control while mitigating the impact that it is having on our economy.”