Connecticut will begin slowly reopening from its coronavirus lockdown beginning May 20, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday.
Lamont unveiled a four-phase approach that will take effect next month — as long as cases and hospitalizations continue to drop, among other contingencies.
“If you want to make sure that this pandemic stays under control, we want to do everything we can to make sure there are no flare-ups around the region,” Lamont said.
Come May 20, the state plans to allow the reopening of outdoor areas at restaurants and bars; outdoor museums and zoos; offices, retail outlets and boutique shops.
Companies will still be urged to keep their employees working from home if possible.
Lamont, who designed the plan with an advisory committee that includes business groups, was confident hair and nail salons will also be allowed to reopen “on a limited basis” if his advisors can develop safe social distancing regulations.
“It’s tougher to enforce social distancing in an environment like that,” he said of the hair-styling hubs. “But based upon what we see in Georgia and other places — people aren’t flooding in. People are doing it by appointment.”
Businesses and events where it’s more difficult to practice social distancing will take longer to open, Lamont said. The final phase bringing a near-normal level of business might not come for 10 months, the governor added.
Lamont said more guidance for restarting school and other large gatherings would come next week.
The plan will only continue if the state can also ensure it maintains adequate supplies of protective gear, tests and hospital capacity and enough resources to perform contact tracing of confirmed COVID-19 patients, Lamont said.
“We’re monitoring this carefully … expansion of the ability to provide those masks to more and more stores, more and more employees, more and more factories, is key to our reopening strategy,” he said.
Connecticut has so far confirmed at least 27,700 coronavirus cases and has suffered 2,257 related deaths.