All CT Business Restrictions to Be Phased Out By May 19: Governor

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Gov. Ned Lamont announced that all restrictions for Connecticut businesses will be phased out by May 19.

The governor said all outdoor restrictions will be lifted starting May 1. Restaurants will be allowed to serve alcohol without food and there will no longer be a table size limit.

The curfew for businesses will be pushed back to 12 a.m. starting May 1, as well, Lamont said in a news conference Monday.

All other business restrictions will be phased out starting May 19, state officials said. These restrictions will include size limits and social distancing rules for businesses such as large event venues, bars and nightclubs.

"At this point, I think I'm going to pass that judgement over to the [businesses] because they know how to do it safely," Lamont said.

Starting May 19, event venues and restaurants are among those businesses which can open at full capacity.

The Department of Public Health will issue recommendations for safe operation of indoor and large outdoor events, according to Lamont.

The governor said indoor masking will continue, however it is unclear whether it will be a "requirement" or "recommendation" by May 19. Lamont said he is in talks with other officials and will make that announcement before the complete rollback for Connecticut businesses next month.

"Probably we are going to require indoor masking a little bit longer unless you are vaccinated – in a crowed public place. But that’s it," Lamont said.

The phase out of restrictions is subject to low incidence and continued improvements in vaccination rates, Lamont said. This includes the state's coronavirus positivity rate and hospitalizations.

"Right now, I feel very confident that we are doing the right thing," the governor said.

Executive Director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association Scott Dolch issued a statement regarding the state's new timeline.

“More than a year after this pandemic began, local restaurant owners and employees can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Today’s news gives restaurants a plan and a timeline for recovery," Dolch said in a statement.

“We are extremely grateful to the Governor for his partnership, and for laying out this path to a new normal for restaurants. Connecticut restaurants know they will need to continue their vigilance when it comes to heightened safety and cleaning measures, and they’ve proven they are up to that challenge. Together, we have proven that we can put public health first without losing sight of our local economy," Dolch continued.

New Coronavirus Numbers in Conn.

The state has surpassed 8,000 coronavirus deaths and the positivity rate is at 2.68%, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.

The death toll is now 8,014. The state reported an additional 19 deaths over the past three days.

Hospitalizations remain below 500 at 494. There was a net increase of eight over the past three days.

Out of over 101,000 tests performed since Friday, 2,736 came back positive.

Over 1.1 million Connecticut residents are now fully vaccinated and 1.7 million people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the governor said.

Lamont said a total of 61% of adults 18 and up have received the first dose of the vaccine.

NBC Connecticut Investigates spoke exclusively with several COVID-19 “long haulers” about six months ago about symptoms they said persisted several months after initially contracting the virus. Now, there is new reporting that some “long haulers” are finding symptom relief after getting vaccinated.

All Connecticut residents, 16 years old and up, as well as people who study and work here and meet the same age requirements, are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you want a vaccine but have not yet gotten an appointment, here are some tips to help you find one.

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