★ LATE UPDATE ★ On Monday, May 18th, two days before the May 20th re-opening date set by the Governor 2 weeks prior, Governor Lamont changed the opening date to June 1st for barbers and hair salons. The governor tweeted his decision at 1:19 p.m. "We've been hearing a lot of feedback, and at this time I think the best approach is that we hit pause on the reopening of hair salons and barbershops, take a step back, and allow some more time as preparations continue to be made."
On May 9th, Governor Ned Lamont announced that his administration had released documents detailing specific rules that eligible businesses falling under phase 1 of Connecticutâ€™s reopening plans must follow amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first phase â€" which includes restaurants; offices; hair salons and barbershopsď‚«; retail stores; and outdoor museums and zoos â€" is currently planned to take effect beginning May 20.
The governor stressed that the decision to reopen during this phase rests with each individual business owner â€" they are not required to open if they do not choose, however if they do they must follow the rules as prescribed. The protocols were developed by Governor Lamont, members of his office, and the Department of Economic and Community Development, in consultation with legislators and recommendations made by the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, which consists of several of the stateâ€™s medical experts and representatives of several business and industry groups.
The rules outline training, cleaning and sanitizing, personal protective equipment and public access.
Documents containing the rules for the first phase of reopening have been published on the stateâ€™s coronavirus website â€" ct.gov/coronavirus â€" and are available to download directly at these links:
Hair Salons & Barbershops: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DECD/Covid_Business_Recovery/CTReopensHairBarbershopsC4V1.pdf?la=en
Museums and Zoos (Outdoor Only): https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DECD/Covid_Business_Recovery/CTReopens_MuseumsZoos_C4_V1.pdf?la=en
Restaurants (Outdoor Only): https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DECD/Covid_Business_Recovery/CTReopens_Restaurants_C5_V1.pdf?la=en
Retail & Malls: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DECD/Covid_Business_Recovery/CTReopensRetail-C4V1.pdf?la=en
All businesses subject to these rules will be required to self-certify prior to opening on May 20. The certification system went online beginning next week.
Businesses must self-certify that they have complied with the rules for their business type before reopening.
In tandem with the release of this guidance, DECD Commissioner David Lehman announced that his office is launching an ad hoc task force that will provide support to small businesses on how to implement these new regulations.
Commissioner Lehman said, â€śWe are grateful to these organizations who represent the voices of our communities and our small businesses for agreeing to work with DECD and AdvanceCT in a team effort to provide the best possible guidance and support to our small businesses. We share the goal of helping businesses across the state to reopen as quickly as possible, while adopting these new and necessary measures to keep our communities safe.â€ť
The Reopen Connecticut Small Business Implementation Task Force is chaired by Lyle Wray of the Capitol Region Council of Governments. Other members will include:
Cindy Bombard, Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, Joe Brennan, Connecticut Business and Industry Association, Nancy Cowser, seCTer, Joe Ercolano, Small Business Development Center, Cathy Graves, New Haven Small Business Academy, David Griggs, MetroHartford Alliance, Kim Hawkins, HEDCO, Larry McHugh, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, Patrick McMahon, CT Main Street, Julio Mendoza, Spanish American Merchant Association, Dan Onofrio, Bridgeport Regional Business Council, Fran Pastore, Womenâ€™s Business Development Council, Garrett Sheehan, Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, Tony Sheridan, Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, Lynn Ward, Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce.
After the governor's reopening announcement, a coalition of Connecticut Senate Democrats including State Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven), State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), State Senator Alex Kasser (D-Greenwich), State Senator Douglas McCrory (D-Hartford), State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford), State Senator Derek Slap (D-West Hartford), State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown), State Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport), State Senator Stephen Cassano (D-Manchester), State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) and State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) addressed a letter to Governor Ned Lamont regarding concerns they have about plans to reopen Connecticut's economy. While the senators "would like nothing more than to conquer COVID-19 so the state can reopen safely," they wrote that they "express concern about the criteria and pace of the Reopen CT strategy as currently defined."
The governor is facing a number of lawsuits and possibly federal investigations related to his emergency declarations.
A group of state senators and representatives wrote to U.S. Attorney Barr requesting a federal inquiry into what they described as constitutional overreach by the governor. Bethel Board of Finance member Cynthia McCorkindale has filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice concerning the governor's suspension of voting rights. And Stamford attorney Lindy Urso has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the executive order to wear face masks is arbitrary and unwarranted.