Governor Ned Lamont announced earlier this month that he was advancing the second phase of reopening Connecticut. Many businesses will now reopen on Wednesday, June 17 – three days earlier than the previously scheduled date of Saturday, June 20. This is welcome news to the many businesses that closed or reduced operations since the start of the COVID pandemic. Residents are also looking forward to exercising in the gym, going to a movie theater, dining indoors, finding a good book at the library, and other activities that signal a return to “normal” routines.
Here are some of the businesses included in the June 17 Phase 2 reopening:
Though outdoor dining is encouraged, restaurants will reopen for indoor dining at 50 percent of regular indoor seating capacity in order to maintain social distancing standards. Employers will be required to enforce the capacity limits as well as ensure that a thorough cleaning of the restaurant before reopening including kitchen, dining area, bathrooms as well as any other often-touched areas.
Outdoor amusement parks will begin to open with a limited 25 percent capacity. Social distancing rules will be practiced throughout, from the parking lot where customers will be directed to park in every other space during peak hours, to leaving empty seating and/or rows on rides.
Hotels/lodging must exercise caution throughout the phases of reopening, ensuring strict adherence to protocols. While these rules provide a way to reopen in as safe a manner as possible, risks to guests and employees cannot be fully mitigated. Guests who choose to visit hotels/lodging during this time should be fully aware of potential risks.
Museums, zoos, and aquariums may open outdoor and indoor exhibits at 50% capacity in the current phase of reopening. Calculate a maximum occupancy that is consistent with social distancing guidelines or 50% of fire code capacity, whichever is lower.
Indoor recreation businesses may open at up to 50% capacity; however, businesses should limit customers to the number of customers that can be appropriately supervised by staff to ensure continuous compliance with rules for mask wearing, social distancing, and cleaning/disinfecting of equipment and common areas.
Libraries can reopen at 50 percent capacity and are encouraged to have guards at the entrance to count and monitor the number of people inside when high traffic times are expected. A six-foot distance between seating must be arranged. Programs including workshops or job fairs must also follow the rules on size of social gatherings.
Outdoor gatherings are permitted provided that any such large outdoor public gatherings shall comply with these rules and all other applicable executive orders governing conduct in public places. The maximum permitted gathering size will be updated by executive order periodically in response to current public health data.
Personal services (e.g., nail salons, tattoo parlors, etc.)
Personal Services are a high-contact environment that necessitates interaction in violation of social distancing rules. Businesses shall exercise caution, ensuring strict adherence to the protocols listed.
Gyms, sports complexes, sports clubs, fitness centers and pools can re-open at 50 percent capacity. Facilities requiring customers/participants to wear a mask while exercising must maintain 6 ft of space between equipment, but facilities that do not require customers to wear a mask while exercising must have 12 ft of space between equipment. With respect to youth and high school sports, outdoor sporting events will be limited to two teams, officials and limited family members. Indoor events are limited to 50 percent capacity or 25 people (whichever is smaller) at each field, court, pool, etc. The limit can be exceeded only to include one parent.
Businesses and non-profits planning to reopen on June 17 should visit the CT Business Reopening and Recovery Center website. And visit the Department of Economic and Community Development website for updated industry-specific guidelines for Phase 2.
Health officials urge residents to continue following safety guidelines such as the wearing of face masks while in public and where social distancing is difficult or not possible, frequent hand washing, avoid touching your face, keep common surfaces clean and disinfected, and seek medical attention if you display any of the following symptoms:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
The Governor and local and state health officials will use the data from the Phase 2 reopening as a guideline for going forward.