The public was allowed back into the state Capitol and legislative office building Tuesday for the first time since March 2020.
"Today the building is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The tour schedule is still in flux," Kim Fabrizio, head of Capitol tours for the League of Women Voters, said.
People can come and do a self-guided tour, even though it will be limited to the first floor. Some came during the pandemic only to find they couldn’t get in.
“We’ve had people from California. This was their 40th Capitol with their family,” Fabrizio said.
“We like to call them Capitol collectors,” Fabrizio said.
When they see Connecticut's Capitol visitors are amazed.
‘Wow, they can’t believe we have it because I think they have this vision of Connecticut, our early history everything was plain and to see this building it’s high Victorian Gothic with French classical middle eastern influences. It amazes them,” Fabrizio said.
“A lot of people come up, especially the little ones and they say it’s the castle. To see the castle they love that,” Fabrizio said.
There will be some new rules for the public to enter the Capitol.
Everyone must wear a mask in common areas regardless of vaccination status. The elevators will still be limited to two people and temperature checks will no longer be required.
Public access to the Capitol and Legislative Office Building will be limited to the first floors of each building.
Lawmakers have been divided over the opening.
“All the buildings should be open not just for people to tour but for people to interact, it’s their building,” House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said.
“I don’t consider it open if it’s only open a little,” Cherie Juhnke of Plainville said.
Juhnke was able to get to the second floor to sign the visitor log in the governor’s office.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s taking this building and the people in it so long to figure out that we can reopen safely,” Candelora said.
Democratic lawmakers make no apologies.
“The pandemic as we know around the country in state legislative buildings ended up getting many people sick so we had to take all the precautions necessary to keep people healthy,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said.