Connecticut Reverts to Phase 2.1 After Spike In COVID-19 Cases

Samantha Bender, News Editor

On Monday, Governor Ned Lamont announced new restrictions for some businesses, including rolling back to modified Phase 2, that became effective Friday, Nov. 6.

Connecticut had previously been in Phase 3 for a month, but after a spike in cases statewide, the state is now in Phase 2.1.

Business sectors including restaurants, entertainment and recreation venues, indoor as well as outdoor events at commercial venues, are subject to a 10:00 p.m. closing time. 

For restaurants, Phase 2.1 entails “up to 50 percent capacity indoors with 6 ft. spacing and/or non-porous barriers,” according to the official state website. 

The last service for in-person dining is at 9:30 p.m., although takeout and delivery may continue. The phase allows a maximum of eight people per table. 

Ethan O’Day, Central Connecticut senior and waiter at Buffalo Wild Wings, is experiencing the effects of the new mandate firsthand. 

“I rely on late-night customers,” O’Day said. “We close at about 10:30, so reverting back an hour does take away some money and with 50 percent capacity again, that means there are less for me to take care of and make money.”

O’Day is concerned about the financial impacts individuals statewide will face as a result of the decision.

“As a CCSU student who lives off-campus and pays for everything like rent and bills, this isn’t something I’m looking forward to in a financial standpoint,” O’Day said. 

This sentiment was shared by Renee Noel, University of Connecticut senior and waitress at Sadler’s Ordinary and Blackledge Country Club, who fears the 25 percent decrease in capacity will result in less hours at her jobs. 

“I don’t believe having 50 people in a room is much different than having 75 people in a room,” Noel said. “One of those 50 people could have COVID so I feel like if we’re trying to be COVID safe we either need to shut everything down completely or open everything back up. I don’t think 50 percent versus 75 percent capacity really makes a difference.”

As far as 24-hour diners go, the state website says that they may reopen for indoor dining for breakfast at 5:00 a.m.

“Events previously scheduled to take place prior to Nov.9 may still take place in accordance with the Phase rules that were in place in their municipality prior to the announcement of Phase 2.1,” the website goes on to state.

With the holidays approaching, Connecticut nears a high-risk time to spread the virus through more individuals traveling and larger, longer gatherings.

Kasey Simpson, junior at Simmons University, agrees with the timing of the governor’s decision.

“I think it is important to put the health of Connecticut’s citizens before the economy. I believe this should have been contained months ago,” Simpson said.

“I believe that since cases are rising, the action is justified. Healthcare workers are also overwhelmed and overworked. We have seen that the hospitals cannot handle a wide-scale breakout. For all parties, I believe this is the right step,” she continued.

Prior to hosting holiday events, individuals are recommended to conduct pre-party screening, limit attendance, use outdoor spaces, invite only local attendees as well as use disposable items such as single-use plates, utensils and to-go containers.