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Connecticut Proceeds With Phase 3 of Reopening, But Bars and Nightclubs Will Remain Closed

  • Phase 3 of Connecticut’s reopening plan, set to begin Oct. 8, will increase capacities at restaurants and businesses while performing arts venues can reopen at 50 percent capacity
  • Indoor bars and nightclubs, which likely contributed to spikes in COVID-19 cases after reopening in other states, will remain closed despite being included in original Phase 3 reopening plan
  • Seasonal move away from outdoor dining, low COVID-19 infection rate contribute to decision

Governor Ned Lamont announced on Thursday that Connecticut will proceed with Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, which was suspended indefinitely in July after COVID-19 cases spiked in many areas of the United States. While the original reopening plan permitted indoor bars and nightclubs to reopen, these businesses will remain closed due to concerns that the tightly packed venues contributed to the spread of the virus.

With the state’s seven-day average infection rate in Connecticut remaining below 1 percent for much of the summer, Lamont said the state has “earned” the step toward pre-pandemic conditions. The decision also aims to assist restaurants and businesses as temperatures drop and outdoor dining and events become less feasible.

Under the new state guidelines, indoor restaurants and businesses such as hair salons and libraries can increase their capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent. Performing arts venues may reopen at 50 percent capacity. The state also increased capacities for a variety of social gatherings, including school graduations, stadiums, weddings, and private parties.

Lamont said the relaxed restrictions are contingent on continuing safety protocols, including mask requirements, social distancing, and proper sanitation. State officials have said that restrictions may be tightened again if the seven-day average infection rate exceeds 5 percent or if other metrics, such as hospital admissions, raise concerns.

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