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Lamont Increases Fine for Business Violations of COVID-19 Restrictions to $10,000

  • Executive order from Governor Ned Lamont ramps up fine for businesses breaking COVID-19 restrictions to $10,000 per violation
  • Penalty far exceeds previous fine of $500
  • Rule aims to keep up rigorous enforcement of rules as COVID-19 cases increase and the potential for larger groups increases due to holiday shopping

Governor Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that Connecticut is greatly increasing the penalty businesses will face if they violate restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new executive order issued by Lamont says business owners who violate capacity limits or other rules issued by the Department of Economic and Community Development face a fine of $10,000 per violation. The move greatly increases the former fine of $500, which was rarely imposed by public health officials.

The order says the fine increase is in response to the increased likelihood that larger crowds may form at commercial venues due to colder weather and the holiday shopping season, with additional enforcement necessary to maintain capacity limits. It also cites recent increases in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in Connecticut.

Municipal and district health directors have the authority to take enforcement action when an establishment violates public health rules. Lamont’s executive order also allows the  Commissioner of Public Health to take any necessary action to enforce the rules if they determine that the local health department or health district is not effectively doing so.

Lamont recently said there are no plans to close down malls or retail establishments during the holiday shopping season despite the increase in COVID-19 cases. However, he urged these businesses to strongly enforce public health rules to help limit the spread of the virus and avoid more stringent restrictions.

The order was made after consulting with municipalities and trade groups representing merchants and restaurants. The penalty does not apply to gatherings such as private parties at residences or religious ceremonies, although these can still be subject to smaller fines.

Connecticut rolled back its reopening to “Phase 2.1” at the beginning of November, imposing stricter capacity limits on most businesses.

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