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Connecticut Faces Dilemma on Controlling COVID-19 and Preserving Economy

  • Enforcement of Connecticut’s rigorous COVID-19 rules has helped maintain consistently low infection rates, but this also has the potential to harm the state’s economy
  • Hotels and lodging have not been asked to screen guests, though several have done so voluntarily
  • Health commitment has been used in tourism marketing, but pitches are limited to neighboring states

As the summer season comes to a close, Connecticut is facing a dilemma in how it balances its commitment to public health with its impact on tourism revenue.

The state has rigorous rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19, requiring that visitors or Connecticut residents returning from states with high infection rates must fill out an online travel advisory form and quarantine for 14 days or face a $1,000 fine. A lax enforcement of these rules could increase the consistently low infection rates Connecticut has enjoyed. However, if enforcement is too rigid it could drive off tourists and harm the hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other businesses already hard-hit by shutdowns earlier this year.

The majority of Connecticut’s tourists arrive by vehicle or train, presenting a further challenge in screening arrivals. Hotels and other lodging have not been asked to screen guests, but could be directed to do so; many have voluntarily taken steps such as enhanced cleaning protocols and limiting visitors from states with high infection rates to short visits.

Connecticut has promoted its low infection rate in tourism marketing, though these efforts have been focused on neighboring states which have also maintained lower infection rates. The peak travel season for the region is expected to pass by October.

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