Family Spaces Keeping Restrictions After State Relaxes Rules

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Connecticut will reopen the state even more on March 19, eliminating most capacity restrictions.

That means museums, libraries, and other places that cater to families will have a green light to welcome more guests.

However, some say they’re not in a rush to change the rules and plan to keep their current protocols in place.

"We are squirming, just waiting until we can reopen,” said Jen Alexander, the founder and executive director of Kidcity Children’s Museum in Middletown.

March 11 will mark one year since the Middletown museum shut its doors.  Despite the state's plan to lift capacity restrictions later this month, visitors will have to keep waiting to explore their exhibits.

"No, we won't be reopening for a while and I haven't really set a reopening date,” said Alexander. “People might be ready to go out to a restaurant grown-ups only, before they’re ready to go somewhere and play with their little kids.”

While Alexander doesn’t feel it’s safe yet, other museums have reopened but are using timed tickets to limit visitors.  The Children’s Museum, in West Hartford, caters to kids two to 14, a group that hasn't been approved for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"As the vaccines roll out children are going to be that last vector of concern,” said the museum’s Senior Development Coordinator Joe DeFeo.

While the museum may start selling more timed tickets in the weeks or months to come, the governor's announcement won't have an impact in the short term according to DeFeo.

"We're not changing overnight,” he said.

Vaccine access is also a concern for the town's interim library director who says more people need that shot in the arm before she's comfortable opening the library's doors to pre-pandemic levels.

“Because most of our staff are not vaccinated yet and we know most of the public are not vaccinated yet, we still have to be socially distant, wear masks, and be safe,” said Carol Waxman, who also leads the children’s department.

That means appointments and curbside pick-up will still be the norm at Noah Webster library in Blue Back Square.

“We believe that appointments are necessary for everybody’s safety, especially in children’s.  If we had that many children running around in here and some of them aren’t all that careful about wearing their masks it just wouldn’t be safe for our families,” she said.

The library does hope to start hosting in-person programming outside this summer.

“To have 20 children in one small space with a librarian right now does not seem the way to go for anybody,” she said.

The Children's Museum also wants to bring back birthday parties when the weather warms up. 

Kidcity is taking a wait and see approach to reopening.

"It's great not to have the restrictions, but your job as a business goes beyond that, it's a responsibility to your customers to do what you think is right,” said Alexander.  “We'll open just as soon as it will be more fun than more risk."

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