Connecticut Reopening

Live Conn. Reopening Blog: What’s Open and What’s Closed in Connecticut; Looking Ahead to Phase 2 Around June 20

Here's a one-stop blog of what you need to know about the reopening of Connecticut and the four phases to restart the state's economy after closures began in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic

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What to Know

  • Gov. Lamont is planning a four-phase reopening of the state, with the first phase having started on May 20
  • The first phase of reopening will include restaurants (with outdoor dining only), malls, offices (where employees can't work from home). Hair salons and barbershops can open June 1.
  • Non-essential businesses in Connecticut have been closed by an executive order of the governor since late March. Nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapists, gyms, sporting events, large gatherings will all be a part of later phases.

The Latest on Connecticut's Reopening Plans

Wednesday, May 27

Archdiocese of Hartford Announces Weekday Masses Can Resume June 8

Weekday Masses in the Archdiocese of Hartford can resume beginning June 8, the Archdiocese announced in new reopening guidelines on Wednesday.

The guidelines only permit weekday Masses for the time being and do not provide a timeframe for the restarting of Sunday Masses.

Archbishop Leonard Blair dispensed with the obligation of attending Sunday mass for Catholics in the Archdiocese through Sunday, September 6.

No more than 50 worshipers will be allowed to be present at Masses in this first phase and those present must practice social distancing and wear masks.


Tuesday, May 26

Nordstrom will be reopening its three stores in Connecticut on Thursday. Those locations are listed below:

  • Nordstrom Westfarms in Farmington
  • Nordstrom Rack West Farm Shopping Center in Farmington
  • Nordstrom at The SoNo Collection in Norwalk

Friday, May 22

Macy's will be reopening select stores across Connecticut on Friday morning.

The stores open for in-store shopping are:

  • Macy's Brass Mill Center
  • Macy's Crystal
  • Macy's Connecticut Post
  • Macy's Danbury Fair
  • Macy's Shoppes at Buckland Hills
  • Macy's Stamford Town Center
  • Macy's Trumbull
  • Macy's Westfarms

The stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Customers will also be able to use contact-free curbside pick-up Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m

Macy's Reopens Select Stores


Thursday, May 21

Earlier today, Governor Lamont spoke with Kevin Nathan about the state's reopening plan and answered your questions.

Governor Lamont spoke to Kevin Nathan on Thursday about the state's reopening plan and answered your questions

Wednesday, May 20

Governor Lays Out Phase 2 and Phase 3

In Phase 2 of his plans, Lamont said the following would be opening. He set the target date for Phase 2 as June 20.

  • Accommodation (no bar areas)
  • Gyms, fitness & sports clubs
  • All personal services (nail salons, tattoo parlors)
  • Outdoor arts, entertainment, and events (up to 50 people)
  • Outdoor amusement parks
  • Movie theaters
  • Bowling alleys
  • Social clubs, pools
  • All museums, zoos, aquariums
  • Restaurants (indoor dining, no bar)

Phase 3, according to the governor, would come at a later date in the summer, potentially in late July. The businesses to open in Phase 3 include:

  • Bars
  • Indoor event spaces & venues
  • Indoor amusement parks & arcades
  • Outdoor events (up to 100 people)

Education & Community Services

In addition to businesses, Gov. Lamont also details plans to restart some education programs and services that are provided across the state. Some of those that will restart in Phase 2 are:

  • Selected youth sports (June 20)
  • All summer day camps (June 22)
  • Public libraries (June 20)
  • Nonresidential workforce programs (mid-June)
  • Nonresidential clinical/laboratory courses (mid-June)
  • K-12 summer school (July 6)
  • Other nonresidential programs (July/Aug)
  • Graduate programs (July/Aug)
  • Undergraduate residential small-scale pilot programs (July/Aug)

Gov. Lamont said undergraduate residential programs at colleges, K-12 schools, and boarding schools will all be decisions made at a later date.

Casinos Announce June 1 Phased Reopenings

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe announced Wednesday that they will begin reopening portions of their reservations on June 1.

Portions of both Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun will reopen on that date with new safety guidelines in place, including the wearing of personal protective equipment and social distancing guidelines.

The tribes said they collaborated to create new safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, and said that their policies are "consistent with or exceeding the State's phased guidance and safety protocols."

During the first phase of reopening on June 1, concert venues, buffets and poker rooms will remain closed, and restaurants will be open only for takeout.

The properties will also aim to welcome only Connecticut and Rhode Island residents. They will not be marketing to New York or Massachusetts, and they will not accept out-of-state buses.

Officials also said employees will receive training on infectious disease safety and proper sanitation protocols.

Reopening Begins in Connecticut

Businesses can begin to reopen today. Retail establishments can resume in-person operations if they follow certain rules to prioritize the safety of shoppers and employees.

Per phase one guidelines, retail businesses and malls can open at 50 percent capacity so expect employees or security to monitor crowds.

Limited Stores Open at Westfarms

We're getting our first look at what stores are open at Westfarms shopping center in West Hartford.

According to the Westfarms website, the following stores are open as of May 20:

  • Aerie
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Anthropology
  • AT&T
  • Auntie Anne's Pretzels
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Forever 21
  • Free People
  • Garage
  • Go! Calendars, Games and Toys
  • Gusnova Gelato
  • Hakky Shoe Repair
  • Hallmark
  • Hannoush Jewelers
  • Journeys
  • LEGO (Curbside Only)
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Munson's Chocolates
  • Parade of Novelty Sports
  • PF Changs (Curbside and Delivery Only)
  • Pottery Barn
  • Pretzelmaker
  • Subway
  • Surf City Squeeze
  • Tiffany and Co.
  • The Fix
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Zagg
Westfarms reopens with social distancing
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Crystal Mall and Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets reopen

As part of the state's allowance for shopping centers to reopen, the Crystal Mall and Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets both announced they will be reopening today.

Both shopping centers, part of Simon, have put in in place health and safety protocols.

You can view the safety protocols here.

Outlet stores open as of May 20, according to the Clinton Crossing outlets website:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Finish Line
  • Lindt Chocolate

At the Crystal Mall, the following stores are open, according to the mall's website:

  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Cohen's Fashion Optical
  • Dollar N Things
  • EbLens
  • Finish Line
  • Froyo World
  • Global Cellular
  • Ice Imports
  • Journeys
  • Longhorn Steakhouse
  • Mr. Fix It
  • Mr. Fix It Too
  • Olive Garden
  • Pretzelmaker
  • Shoe Dept. Encore
  • The Toy Vault
  • ThriftiBois
  • Valley Kids Toys
  • Vape City Smoke Shop

Tuesday, May 19

Beardsley Zoo Announces June 1 Reopening

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is planning to reopen on June 1, the zoo announced Tuesday.

There will be two sessions each day allowing for 50 percent capacity in each session. The first is from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. A second session is from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Zoo will close from 12 to 1 p.m. for cleaning each day.

The zoo is putting into place a number of changes and protocols (according to a press release from Beardsley Zoo):

  • Masks must be worn by all guests, except for those ages two and under
  • Social distancing must be observed, with six-foot distancing between family groups
  • Tickets must be purchased online in a contactless system: links will be provided on the website and social media before opening
  • A one-way loop around the Zoo is identified by signs to keep cross traffic at a minimum
  • Restrooms will be monitored and cleaned throughout the day
  • An online app will allow food orders for pick-up through a side window. Limited menu items. Guests may bring their own food
  • No stroller or wheelchair rentals are available. Guests are asked to bring their own

All buildings at the zoo will be closed with the exception of restrooms, which matches the state's requirements allowing zoos to open outdoor spaces but not indoor exhibit spaces.

Mystic Aquarium Announces Phased Reopening Plan

Mystic Aquarium is reopening to the general public on Friday, but plans to host special events in recognition of the community and frontline workers on Wednesday and Thursday.

The aquarium said they are reopening with the special events on Wednesday and Thursday in recognition of the support of the local community and the efforts of healthcare workers, emergency responders and other essential workers.

On Wednesday, Mystic Aquarium will hold a member's only event. On Thursday, complimentary admission will be given to frontline workers of the coronavirus crisis, the aquarium said. Frontline workers include healthcare workers, first responders, grocery and pharmacy staff. Each person requires a reserved time ticket.

Mystic Aquarium will reopen to the general public officially on Friday and access to the aquarium will be limited to outdoor spaces at 50 percent, according to officials.

Aquarium officials said the outdoor space includes the Penguin Pavilion, Marsh Trek, Pacific Northwest habitats and the Arctic Coast habitat featuring New England's only beluga whales.

Blue Back Square to Reopen May 20

Tomorrow is the day the first phase of Connecticut’s reopening begins and Blue Back Square in West Hartford will be open for business.

The hours for the dining and shopping center will be Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m., but opening schedules will vary by shop and restaurant, so you are urged to call ahead.  

Garage parking and curbside spaces are available and customers are urged to use the Mobile Parking App for touchless payment.

Face masks are required in all public spaces in Connecticut and Blue Back Square “strongly recommends the use of face masks and any other PPE recommended by the CDC or local and state officials,” according to its website.

The website says seating is positioned at six-foot distances and cleaned and sanitized regularly.

Customers throughout the center are urged to maintain a six-foot separation from others and graphics will be set up to help maintain the social distancing recommendations.

Best Buy Announces Some Stores Reopening for Inside Shopping

Since March, Best Buy's locations in Connecticut have been providing a "Contactless Curbside service," but beginning May 20, shoppers will be able to enter some stores in the state.

The locations open for inside business include: Orange, Danbury, West Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Waterford, Meriden, Norwalk, Enfield, Trumbull, West Simsbury and North Haven.

Customers will be able to work with Geek Squad employees for consultations with specific safety protocols in place.

Customers are urged to make an appointment for a consultation in advance.


Monday, May 18

Opening of Connecticut Hair Salons and Barbershops Delayed Until Early June

The opening of hair salons and barbershops was delayed from phase one on May 20 until sometime in early June, the governor announced on Monday.

The governor's office released a statement announcing that Gov. Ned Lamont and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo would now plan to realign the reopening of hair salons and barbershops in the two states in early June.

The governor said in his Monday news conference that he is targeting June 1 for the reopening of salons and barbershops.

Governor Lamont said he is now targeting a June 1 reopening date for salons and barbershops.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from many owners and employees, and at this time I think the best approach is that we hit pause on the reopening of hair salons and barbershops, take a step back, and allow some more time as preparations continue to be made," Governor Lamont said.

Initially, hair salons and barbershops were part of the first phase of the governor's reopening plan and were permitted to reopen on Wednesday, May 20.


Friday, May 15

Hartford Open to Different Outdoor Locations for Restaurants

Hartford businesses that are eligible to reopen on May 20 can apply for outdoor eating, outdoor alcohol, outdoor retail activity and outdoor signage permits, and businesses that have existing permits for those activities and are not expanding them do not have to apply, according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

"We want to make this simple and easy for our businesses," the mayor said.

Restaurants that already have outdoor space permits, do not need to participate in this process. Restaurants that have outdoor space near the restaurant, even parking spaces, will need to request a permit.

The city will work with the Hartford Parking Authority to approve restaurants' permits if they want to use parking spaces in front of or by the restaurant.

Bronin said for restaurants that do not have available outdoor space, the city is willing to consider proposals to use other public or private spaces for outdoor service, even including looking at closing streets.

The permit applications are available online here.


Thursday, May 14

How Officials Are Deciding What to Reopen, and When

The committee that has been advising the governor on ways to reopen businesses in Connecticut gave a glimpse Thursday of how they are deciding which businesses can reopen when, based on health risks and economic impact.

They said there are several public health and economic indicators that go into reopening plans.

The health indicators include probability of contact, the length of contact, the number of contact, disinfection and social distancing.

Economic indicators include GDP, the number of businesses, the total employment and unemployment claims.

The five guiding principles, they said, are putting the public health first, being science driven, to ensure that PPE and hospital beds are available as well as that individual businesses can choose whether to open.

Senate Democrats Raise Concerns About Lamont's Reopening Plans

A group of State Senate Democrats has sent a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont expressing concern over the governor's plan to reopen the state beginning on May 20.

In the letter, the senators listed questions they have about some of the criteria that Lamont has laid out as key to slowly reopening the state.

Among their concerns is the governor's reliance on a statewide decline in hospitalizations. The senators want to know the state's plan if hospitalizations climb in one area of the state. The senators also raised concerns about whether the state will have adequate testing to reopen.

Connecticut Post Mall to Reopen

The Connecticut Post Mall in Milford announced Thursday that it will reopen on May 20 with coronavirus restrictions in place.

The mall plans to operate on a reduced schedule for the first 30 days of the reopening to allow more time for cleanings, opening from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 13

Phase 2 Reopening Could Come on June 20

Gov. Lamont said he expected June 20 as a target date for Phase 2 of the reopening plan.

He did not list what businesses would be allowed to reopen on that date but suggested he might want to see some indoor dining at restaurants by that date.

When asked what other businesses might be a part of the Phase 2 reopening, Lamont said gyms were a possibility.

He said he would look to events that could be held outdoors, such as weddings or even graduations.

Restaurant Association Raises Concerns to Governor

A group of business leaders spanning several industries sent a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday asking him to allow some indoor dining at restaurants in Connecticut beginning June 3, according to the Connecticut Restaurant Association.

Under Phase One of Lamont's reopening plan, restaurants will be allowed outdoor dining as of May 20. Currently, restaurants can serve take-out or delivery only.

The letter raises concerns that restricting restaurants to outdoor dining only won't be enough for many of them to stay in business.

Westfarms Announces It will Reopen on May 20

Westfarms will reopen to the public on Wednesday, May 20 on a reduced schedule.

The mall will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

They said retailer and restaurant hours might vary and to call for individual hours.

Wood-n-Tap Opening for Takeout at Select Locations Tonight

Wood-n-Tap has been closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic and they will be open for curbside pickup at some locations, starting this evening.

The restaurants in Rocky Hill, Farmington, Southington and Newington will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today.

Starting tomorrow, those restaurants will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Tuesday, May 12

State Reviewing Dental Office Guidelines; Says It Is Open to Further Guidance, Restrictions

The Lamont Administration is meeting with dentists, hygienists and occupational safety experts to review guidelines for the reopening of dental offices, said David Lehman, the state's commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

The meetings come after the state has received feedback from hygienists concerned about the safety of returning to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state could at some point add a restriction against dental cleanings and other non-urgent care, Lehman said.

Mohegan Sun Extends Closure to May 26

Mohegan Sun will be closed at least until May 26.

Mohegan Sun, like so many other businesses, has been closed since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last update from the casino was that it would be closed through May 12. A statement on the Mohegan Sun website now says it will be closed through Tuesday, May 26 and to check back for updates.

Blow Dryers and Hair Dryers Both Can be Used As Needed at Salons For May 20th Reopening: Official

Hair salons will be able to use both hair dryers and blow dryers if they choose to reopen as part of Connecticut's phase one reopening plan, said the state's commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, David Lehman.

Lehman said salons should make a case-by-case determination if the dryers are needed and if it's determined yes, they should feel safe to use it.

The state originally said that hair salons opting to reopen on May 20 would not be allowed to use the blow dryers, citing concerns about circulating particles through the air.

Westfield’s Meriden, Trumbull Malls to Reopen May 20

Westfield announced Monday it will reopen its mall locations in Meriden and Trumbull on May 20.

Shopping malls across Connecticut were closed in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Malls are included in the first phase of reopening, state officials said last week, but they will have to follow the retail guidelines.

Westfield said the shopping centers will have modified hours, open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Summer Camps Can Open June 29, But Not Overnight Camps

Summer camps in Connecticut can reopen on June 29 if they follow state guidelines, however overnight camps do not qualify for that phase one reopening, said the governor's chief of staff Paul Mounds.

Mounds clarified Monday overnight camps will not be allowed to reopen in late June and will reopen in a later phase.

The Office of Early Childhood says summer camps can open on June 29 in the state with specific guidance in place. That guidance includes enhanced health screening, limiting group size to no more than 10 children with the camp needing permission to serve more than 30, for employees to wear cloth face masks, to implement hand and respiratory hygiene, develop protocols for intensified cleaning and disinfection, and to implement social distancing strategies.


Wednesday, May 6

Recommendations Revealed for Phased Reopening of Conn. Colleges, Universities

A plan to reopen Connecticut's colleges and universities would likely be phased throughout the summer with the aim of in-person instruction in the fall, according to recommendations given to Gov. Ned Lamont by the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group.

The goal at the end of the phased reopening is to allow the state's higher education institutions to be able to reopen for the fall semester, if progress continues to be made against the coronavirus, the governor's office said in a press release.

Each school would be free to decide if they need more time for certain programs before restarting.

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