Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Connecticut, US, to ease business restrictions starting May 20. Gatherings of five or more people banned through June 20.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Groton, Connecticut
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Stamford, Connecticut
  • Old Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Milford, Connecticut
  • Shelton, Connecticut

This alert began 19 May 2020 18:31 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Connecticut (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order to ease business restrictions starting May 20, as part of phase one of the state's economic recovery plan. The restrictions have been in place to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order stipulates that gatherings of five or more people will remain banned through at least June 20.

The following businesses, services, and activities may resume operations May 20:

  • Office-based businesses, limited to 50 percent their maximum capacity.
  • Retail stores and malls, limiting the number of customers to 50 percent of their maximum capacity.
  • Restaurants, for outdoor dining only and limiting the number of customers to 50 percent of their capacity; they may continue offering delivery and pickup services.
  • Museums and zoos, for outdoor exhibits, and limiting the number of visitors 50 percent of their capacity.
  • Outdoor recreation activities, including biking, equestrian, fishing, golf, racetracks with no spectators, and tennis.


Manufacturing, construction, childcare centers, and real state businesses may continue operating, as well as those considered essential, which include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, essential government functions, and companies working in agriculture, security, and transport. Beaches will reopen May 22. All businesses must enhance sanitation procedures, ensure social distancing measures, and encourage employees to work from home as much as possible.

Barber shops and hair salons were scheduled to reopen May 20, but they will remain closed until at least June 1. Gyms, theaters, spas, bars, and other businesses are scheduled to reopen June 20. Summer camps will be allowed starting June 29. In-person lessons in schools remain cancelled until the end of the academic year. Summer school programs can begin only after July 6.

The use of face coverings is required whenever a person is in public and cannot maintain a proper distance from others. Authorities also maintain in place the requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days for all travelers entering Connecticut, by any mode of transportation.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures are likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all non-essential travel in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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