Many businesses are breathing a little easier knowing they can operate without restriction,
With the state removing virtually all business restrictions Wednesday, establishments are looking forward to getting back to business as usual or as close to it as possible while maintaining a safe environment.
Among the businesses affected the most have been bars and nightclubs. This morning, for the first time in over a year, the owner of Hartford’s Russian Lady was preparing to open for business.
“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” said Jerry Fornarelli.
Fornarelli, who also owns the Rocking Horse Saloon, estimates it could take three years to make up his losses. He is excited about Wednesday's reopening but will do it cautiously. Safety barriers are in place and employees will be wearing masks.
“We want to keep our staff safe and our customers as well,” Fornarelli said.
Coinciding with the relaxation of restrictions the Department of Public Health (DPH) issued guidance. DPH recommends all people wear masks in schools, health care facilities, and transportation hubs.
Although private businesses can ask people to wear masks, they are no longer a state requirement for vaccinated people in many business settings.
Berlin’s Powerhouse Gym says it will maintain strict sanitation efforts but masks will be optional.
“People are finally able to breathe,” said Co-owner, Jack Banks. “People are on the treadmill and they’re smiling again.”
Although Mohegan Sun is located on tribal lands its protocols are aligned closely with the state. Starting Wednesday, masks are no longer required for vaccinated people and restaurants are at full capacity. Still the casino is being cautious.
“It’s still going to stay at, every other slot machine. We’re going to keep our table maximums to three or four spots with plexiglass,” said Mohegan Sun President & General Manager Jeff Hamilton.
Arenas and stadiums can also return to full capacity. However, because of WNBA guidelines, Connecticut Sun games played in the Mohegan Sun arena will remain at 25 percent for the time being.
Dunkin Donuts Park and other sporting venues in the state, like Stafford Speedway and Dillon Stadium are planning to open at 100% capacity now that restrictions are lifted.