Some Businesses Serving Customers as Phase 1 of Reopening Connecticut Begins

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Businesses across the state were able to reopen their doors on Wednesday for the first time in two months since the coronavirus pandemic hit, forcing them to close.

Here's a breakdown of what places are allowed to reopen their doors and the guidelines that will now have to be followed.

Retail establishments are open, following rules to prioritize the safety of shoppers and employees.

Phase One guidelines allow retail businesses and malls to open at 50 percent capacity so expect employees or security to monitor crowds.

Shoppers and stores across Connecticut are preparing for the phase one of the state's reopening on May 20

Shoppers are going to have to get used to social distancing. Some malls and store owners said safety is their number one priority as we slowly get businesses open in Connecticut.

At both Westfarms and the CT Post Mall, you're going to see signs of the times before you walk through the doors.

Signage is one of several precautions shopping centers are taking to make shoppers feel safe. You can also expect plexiglass dividers between you and the workers ringing up your purchases.

If a store allows clothes to be tried on, the associate must do what they're calling a 48-hour quarantine, or thoroughly steam clean the items before they can be returned to the sales floor.

Shopping centers have intense cleaning regimes planned and they're asking patrons to do their part, too.

"We're requiring our shoppers as well as our merchant employees to wear face coverings. We've also put into place mall-wide safety guidelines including a lot of signage throughout the center, decals on the floor with six feet spacing," said Westfarms Spokesperson Amanda Sirica.

"Everybody in this building is trying to do, you know, what's best for the customers to make them feel like they can come in here and be safe," added CT Post Mall General Manager Ken Sterba.

No indoor dining areas can reopen at this point, so diners can only be seated outside.

Effie's Place in West Hartford is looking forward to serving people face-to-face while maintaining a social distance.

“We had a team meeting yesterday and all my help is very happy to come back to work and can’t wait to come back to work and looking to have a little bit more normalcy again with their jobs,” John Paindiris, the owner, of Effie’s Place, said.

Diners said they were happy to be out. 

“I couldn’t wait. I saw in the news that they were open and I said I’m going to go. I’m going to have breakfast. I’m going to support the local community and show it’s safe to be out here. I feel fine. We all feel fine,” Rachel George said.

Scott Kluger the owner of Hartford Baking Company was grateful for good weather on the first day of the next steps for the state.

“I think it’s more than just the outdoor dining. I think this is a signal to people, 'Hey, it’sOKto maybe leave the house a little bit more,” he said.

Retail establishments are expected to install touchless appliances wherever possible, including soap dispensers and trash cans you don't have to touch to open.

Westfarms will have 22 spots reserved at each entrance for curbside pickup for people who don't feel comfortable going inside shopping centers yet.

The Connecticut Post Mall is making changes to prepare a safe environment for customers who return on Wednesday

Mom and Pop shops are also preparing to open their doors on Wednesday. While following state guidance, some stores are requiring appointments to shop to limit crowds.

Westfarms opens at 11 a.m. They suggest calling the store you plan on shopping at to make sure they are in fact opening Wednesday because it is a decision made by the retailer's corporate office.

The CT Post Mall is expecting 25 to 30 stores to open Wednesday.

Here's a look at what else is expected to open up in Phase One:

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