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Connecticut Lifts Business Capacity Limits Effective March 19

  • Most business capacity restrictions in Connecticut will be lifted on March 19
  • Some restrictions remain, including the mask mandate, social distancing and sanitation protocols, a curfew, and capacity limits at certain venues
  • Bars will remain closed for the time being

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Connecticut will eliminate capacity limits at most businesses starting on March 19 and is planning to reopen several outdoor and summer activities in the coming months, Governor Ned Lamont announced Thursday. Some restrictions remain in place, including an ongoing mask mandate and shutdown of drinking establishments.

Lamont specified that capacity restrictions will be lifted for restaurants, non-theater indoor recreation, libraries, museums, aquariums, gyms/fitness centers, retail and offices, personal services, houses of worship. Since November, most businesses have been limited to 50 percent capacity while personal services have been capped at 75 percent.

Certain capacity limits and other restrictions remain in place. Movie theaters and performing arts venues will continue to be limited to 50 percent capacity, and restaurants must continue to limit the number of people per table to eight. As previously announced, gatherings at commercial venues will expand to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors, while private residential gatherings will be capped at 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Connecticut will also continue to maintain its mask mandate as well as social distancing and sanitation protocols. Lamont also urged residents to use “common sense,” and encouraged workers to maintain remote work arrangements when possible.

In addition to the lifting of capacity limits, Connecticut’s travel advisory is being offered as guidance rather than a mandate. With limited exceptions, this advisory required anyone traveling from out of state and staying in Connecticut for an extended period to self-quarantine for 10 days.

Sports teams are allowed to practice and compete, subject to guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Tournaments will also be allowed.

Beginning on March 29, capacity limits at early childhood classes will increase from 16 to 20. On April 2, outdoor amusement parks may reopen, along with outdoor event venues (at 50 percent capacity, limited to 10,000 people) and indoor stadiums with a 10 percent capacity limit. Lamont said he anticipates that summer festivals and summer camps will be permitted to reopen later in the year.

Lamont said bars that only serve beverages will remain closed for “just a little bit longer” due to concerns that they pose a greater risk of spreading COVID-19. Drinking establishments that have been able to provide food have been permitted to remain open. David Lehman, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, said approximately 300 to 400 bars have been unable to adjust to the state’s business restrictions and remain closed.

Connecticut business restrictions have been gradually eased in recent months, including an extension of the curfew, higher capacity limits at entertainment venues and houses of worship, and permitting interstate competitions and more spectators at youth sports. Lamont said the changes have been driven by improved COVID-19 numbers, progress in vaccine administration, and similar policy changes in neighboring states.

Lamont also hinted that he will not extend his emergency powers beyond April 20, saying the Connecticut legislature will have the opportunity to influence business protocols on or around that date. The governor has held emergency powers since March 10, 2020, extending them on two occasions.

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