Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced on Thursday that his state would soon be making significant reductions to restrictions that the state implemented in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“Most of the changes will go into effect on March 19, with several more coming down the line over the following two weeks,” the Hartford Courant reported. “The decision comes as President Joe Biden warns states not to move fast on reopening. Lamont said the decision was a result of Connecticut’s dropping COVID-19 metrics.”
A statement from the governor’s office said that while many of the measures are being rolled back, protocols about wearing face coverings, social distancing, and sanitation measures are still being kept in place.
All capacity limits in Connecticut are being eliminated on March 19 for restaurants, retail outlets, libraries, personal services, indoor recreation, gyms, museums, zoos, offices, and places of worship. On March 29, capacity limits on early childhood classes will increase from 16 to 20. On April 2, outdoor amusement parks can open, outdoor venues can increase to a 50% capacity with a maximum 10,000 people, and indoor stadiums can open to 10% capacity.
“While it is encouraging to see the number of cases in our state gradually going down and people getting vaccinated at rates that are among the highest in the nation, we need to continue taking this virus seriously to mitigate its spread as much as possible,” Lamont said. “Please continue to wear face coverings in public and when around other people outside of your households, maintain social distancing, and keep washing your hands and cleaning surfaces. Connecticut has made tremendous strides to combat this pandemic, and we don’t want to lose the progress that we’ve made.”
The announcement comes after Democrat President Joe Biden mocked the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi on Wednesday as being “Neanderthal” thinkers for reopening their states and rolling back the mandatory mask mandates in their states.
“I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden said in a response to a question about the two states. He later added, “The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the mean time everything’s fine, take off your mask. Forget it. It’s still matters. … And it’s critical — critical, critical, critical — that they follow the science. Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that; I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it.”
However, Biden’s remarks were a mischaracterization of what Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves had urged their residents to do. Both governors stated that it was still important that their residents take whatever precautions they believe are necessary to keep themselves safe.
“Today’s announcement does not abandon the safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year,” Abbott said. “Instead, as a reminder that each person has their own role to play in their own personal safety as well as in the safety of others. It’s a reminder that individual’s safety is managed every day as a matter of personal responsibility rather than by government mandate. Individual responsibility is a corollary to individual freedom. We can have both.”
Reeves said that people and businesses can still take extra precautions that they feel are necessary to protect themselves, and he urged to people to “continue to listen to [State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs] and other health advisors for the best possible wisdom regarding how you can personally stem any risk of catching COVID.”