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Expansion of Connecticut’s Event Venue Capacities Mulled for Next Month

  • Governor Ned Lamont says he is prepared to ease restrictions on events held at commercial venues next month if Connecticut’s COVID-19 numbers remain stable
  • New rules would likely cap indoor capacity at 100 people and outdoor capacity at 200 people
  • Rollback to Phase 2.1 in November imposed stricter rules on events at commercial venues

Governor Ned Lamont is signaling that commercial venues in Connecticut can begin holding larger events next month if the state’s COVID-19 numbers continue to trend downward.

On Tuesday, Lamont announced that his administration will consider allowing expanded capacities at private, social, and recreational events held at commercial venues beginning on Friday, March 19. This will likely result in a 50 percent capacity, capped at 100 people, for indoor events and up to 200 people for outdoor events.

Lamont said easing the restrictions will be contingent on stable COVID-19 figures, but that the advance notice is intended to give event planners the opportunities to begin organizing these activities. Connecticut’s latest data indicated a 2.83 percent daily test positivity rate, with hospitalizations dropping by 12 to 606.

In addition, the state remains among the top four in the nation for vaccine distribution, having administered 473,784 first doses and 218,062 second doses. Connecticut has vaccinated about two-thirds of residents ages 75 and older and 23 percent of its population between the ages of 65 and 74.

Lamont has credited ongoing vaccination efforts, along with residents abiding by mask rules and other public health protocols, with bringing the state’s COVID-19 numbers down. He said he is anticipating a 22 percent increase in Connecticut’s vaccine supply next week following the Biden administration’s announcement that it will be ramping up distribution to states.

Lamont’s announcement comes on the heels of a joint statement by the Connecticut Restaurant Association, Connecticut Event Industry Association, and Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau pleading with the governor to loosen pandemic restrictions on larger events. The announcement does not propose any changes to other restrictions on large gathering spaces, including a 25 percent capacity limit at outdoor event venues such as racetracks and amphitheaters, a 50 percent capacity on indoor performing arts venues, and a 10-person limit on events held at private residences. Lamont recently lifted a 100-person cap on religious gatherings, although these remain capped at 50 percent.

State rules for private, social, and recreational events held at commercial venues were originally capped at 25 people for indoor events and 50 people for outdoor events when Connecticut entered Phase 2 of its reopening plan. Capacity limits increased to 100 people for indoor events and 150 people for outdoor events in Phase 3, but were tightened to 25 people for indoor events and 50 people for outdoor events when the state retreated to Phase 2.1 in November.

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