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Connecticut Phase 3 Reopening Gets Underway As COVID Hospitalizations Increase

  • No pause in Phase 3 of Connecticut’s reopening plan despite uptick in COVID-19 cases in the state
  • Phase 3 increases capacity limits at restaurants and other businesses, allows performing arts venues to reopen at half capacity
  • Some businesses continue to face challenges, saying they won’t be able to hit capacity while also observing social distancing

Connecticut is moving ahead with Phase 3 of its reopening plan despite an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state. Governor Ned Lamont said he is willing to change course if the situation merits, but that he believes the positivity rate can stay low if businesses and residents observe proper safety protocols.

Phase 3 allows libraries and businesses such as restaurants and hair salons to increase their indoor capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent. Capacities were also increased for a variety of venues and occasions, such as stadiums and wedding ceremonies. The new rules also allow theaters and performing arts venues to hold events at 50 percent capacity.

The state’s positivity rate for COVID-19 has increased to 1.6 percent after remaining below 1 percent for much of the summer, though the rate remains among the lowest in the United States. According to the most recent state data, Connecticut recorded 123 new cases between Tuesday and Wednesday, including 13 new cases in New London County within the past 24 hours, as well as nine new hospitalizations and one death.

Even with the relaxed rules, companies may continue to face challenges. Some restaurant owners have reported that they don’t have the ability to hit 75 percent capacity while also abiding by social distancing requirements.

Many theaters and performing arts venues are not planning to reopen, either because they won’t be profitable at half capacity or because most performances and shows have already been postponed. For example, Regal Cinemas recently announced that it would temporarily shutter all of its U.S. theaters due to ongoing restrictions in many markets as well as delays in the release of blockbuster films.

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