Lamont moves up second phase of state's reopening by 3 days - InfoNews

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Lamont moves up second phase of state's reopening by 3 days

June 05, 2020 - 5:21 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Friday he is moving up the second phase of reopening many businesses and activities by three days so the changes don't conflict with Father's Day weekend.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Democrat said Phase 2 will now happen on June 17, instead of June 20. That’s when movie theatres, tattoo parlours, spas, gyms, fitness studios, bowling alleys and amusement parks and nail salons will be allowed to open again and restaurants can resume indoor dining.

Libraries and some youth sports programs will also be allowed to reopen. Bars, however, will not.

“Our public health professionals are continuing to monitor test results for possible links to large demonstrations, but as long as COVID hospitalizations and infection rates remain low, we will be in a very good position for a June 17 Phase 2," Lamont tweeted.

The Connecticut Restaurant Association this week urged Lamont to allow restaurants to restart indoor dining on June 10, warning the industry is facing serous financial challenges because of the shutdown. Currently, only outdoor dining and takeout is allowed. Indoor service has been closed for more than 80 days.

While he'd prefer the earlier date, Scott Dolch, the association's executive director, said the June 17 date “will thankfully put us ahead of neighbouring Massachusetts and New York in this regard. Given that Connecticut restaurants make up ten per cent of our state economy, it’s critical that we not fall behind regionally and every day counts.”

On Thursday, Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said the state is “targeting” June 20 to possibly allow up to 50-person outdoor events, such as weddings, with larger events to follow, possibly a month later. It's unclear whether Lamont's revamped executive order will affect those outdoor events.

Lamont said he decided to change the date to avoid having the second reopening “take effect during a busy Father's Day weekend.” Lamont said his administration will release additional safety guidance in the next couple of days for businesses that fall under the second phase.

As of Friday, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 grew by more than 200, to nearly 43,500. The number COVID-associated deaths is 4,038, an increase of 31 since Thursday.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or lead to death.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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