Alarmed by rising COVID-19 cases, the Lamont administration will roll back Connecticut's phase three business reopening guidelines to modified phase two restrictions.
Beginning at midnight Nov. 6, restaurants must revert to 50% indoor capacity, with no more than eight people per table, and close by 9:30 pm [this was changed to 10 pm on Nov. 5]. Restaurants can still serve takeout orders after 9:30 pm.
Restaurants were allowed to increase indoor capacity to 75% on Oct. 8, when the state moved into the third phase of reopening.
“We are putting in these restrictions on a statewide basis now to make sure we don’t have to do more severe things later,” Lamont said.
Outdoor events will revert to a maximum of 50 people, down from 150 allowed in phase three.
The maximum capacity for indoor events, such as a catered event, goes back to 25 people from the 100 allowed in phase three.
Events previously scheduled for this weekend will be allowed to follow the phase three guidelines, Lamont said.
Performing arts and movie theaters will be limited to 100 people.
Personal service businesses, including hair salons, barber shops, and nail salons, will remain at 75% capacity.
Lamont also said employers should maximize work from home and cancel or postpone non-essential travel. The governor will also ask residents to observe a 10 pm to 5 am curfew.
Earlier this month, the governor directed that communities with more than 15 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents could voluntarily roll back to phase two.
Some Connecticut cities and towns, including Bridgeport, Norwalk, and New Haven, reverted to the previous guidelines for businesses.
“In order to flatten the curve, we’re going to focus on how we stay ahead of the curve,” Lamont said.
Connecticut reported a 3.4% positivity rate this past weekend, when 2,651 new cases were reported and hospitalizations increased by 11 patients to 340 statewide.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker also acted, ordering businesses to close by 9:30 pm as of Nov. 6 and asking residents to observe an advisory overnight curfew.
Lamont said most restaurants observed the state’s standards but that some establishments were pushing the boundaries.
CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said while businesses also were concerned with infection rates, the Lamont administration had previously linked the surge in cases to informal social gatherings, and not businesses.
DiPentima said many small businesses, particularly restaurants and event venues, will struggle to survive the winter without additional relief from the state and federal governments.
“While these businesses are not causing the spread, they're being asked to help mitigate transmission of the virus,” DiPentima said.
“This is a tough reminder that everyone in the state needs to step up and do the right thing—wear a mask, maintain social distancing, wash your hands—so we can turn the corner on this virus.”
The Connecticut Restaurant Association said the change, without another round of federal coronavirus funds “will be the final straw for many Connecticut small businesses already just barely keeping their doors open."