The authority Gov. Ned Lamont has had to issue emergency orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years is scheduled to end today.
“Today marks a new phase in our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are by no means declaring mission accomplished in our efforts to stop the spread of this virus, but we are acknowledging that this is a long-term situation that will need a long-term response. Since the beginning of this pandemic, my administration has been able to work collaboratively with the legislature to swiftly enact the essential emergency orders that have been in the best interest of public safety and health,” Lamont said in a statement.
On Monday, the Connecticut Senate voted to extend some of the governor’s remaining pandemic-related executive orders, including a statewide mask mandate for schools and child care centers the Democrat has said he wants lifted Feb. 28.
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Two days later, on March 10, 2020. Lamont declared public health and civil preparedness emergencies
Lamont’s office said that under an agreement reached with the Connecticut General Assembly, that authority expires today.
This comes after lawmakers voted several times to extend his emergency powers.
“During this time, we built the structure that is supporting our state’s response to this virus. Going forward, while our authority to issue these emergency orders is expiring, I have no doubt that we will be able to faithfully continue collaborating with the legislature to enact policies that keep our state safe to the greatest extent possible,” the governor’s statement says.
Connecticut was hit hard early in the pandemic as more and more cases were detected and hospitalizations grew due to the virus.
There have been a total of 714,408 COVID-19 cases in the state. Data on COVID-19 associated deaths is released once per week, every Thursday and the most recently reported total number of deaths is 10,219.
Now, with COVID-19 vaccines widely available, Connecticut is among the states with the highest vaccination rates. As of Monday, the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate was 3.32%.
Besides the masking requirement, other executive orders being extended include requiring vaccination or testing for nursing home visitors; relaxing certain training and hiring requirements for medical professionals to address staffing shortages; and waiving bidding requirements to procure goods and services needed to respond to the pandemic.
The legislation also provides a 30-day stay of eviction proceedings in cases where landlords are still awaiting approval for financial assistance under a state program, and it continues an order requiring that nursing home staff be fully vaccinated with a booster shot. They faced a Feb. 11 deadline to get a booster, but the bill extends the deadline to March 7. Most of the executive orders are scheduled to expire April 15.
This is a gubernatorial election year and Lamont has filed paperwork to run for re-election.
Bob Stefanowski, a Madison businessman and Republican who ran against Lamont in 2018, is going to run for governor again.
Republican Susan Patricelli Regan is also running for governor.
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