- Addressing a Connecticut retail association, Governor Ned Lamont says there are currently no plans to close down stores despite surging COVID-19 cases
- Lamont asks retailers to enforce rules on mask wearing, social distancing, capacity limits during holiday shopping season
- Stores are capped at 50 percent capacity following rollback in state’s reopening
Governor Ned Lamont has assured retailers that Connecticut has no plans to shut down businesses during the busy holiday shopping season. However, he warned that such action could be necessary if stores become too “casual” with enforcing public safety rules as COVID-19 infections mount.
Addressing the annual meeting of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, Lamont asked retailers to be strict in ensuring that shoppers wear masks, maintain social distancing, and abide by capacity limits. Stores have been capped at 50 percent capacity since Connecticut rolled back to “Phase 2.1” of its reopening plan last month. This limit could require stores to set up areas for customers to queue outside in order to remain a safe distance apart.
Lamont suggested that stores consider adding security or staff to monitor customers and address any unsafe behavior. Tim Phelan, president of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, said shoppers can also order place orders online, set up curbside pickup, or shop in-person during off-hours when less people will be present.
Retailers are hopeful that the holiday shopping season will see robust sales. While the economy has been slow to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment remains high, many people have more disposable income available due to higher savings rates and less spending on travel, entertainment, and other expenses earlier in the year.
Eighty-six percent of Connecticut’s municipalities are at the “red alert” level of 15 or more COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents. On Thursday, the state logged 2,353 new cases, 21 new deaths, and a daily positivity rate of 6.48 percent. COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state have tripled in the past three weeks.