Coronavirus News: Connecticut rolls back Phase 3 reopening, adds new restrictions

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CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- Connecticut officials have rolled back their Phase 3 reopening from the coronavirus pandemic, adding new restrictions as part of what they're calling "Phase 2.1," a modified version of the previously enacted Phase 2 rules, amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Beginning Friday, private gatherings -- both indoor and outdoor -- are limited to 10 people. Also, while it's not a curfew, residents are urged to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The advisory applies to all residents except those who are essential workers, and anyone who must leave their home on an emergency basis to seek medical care or buy medical supplies or groceries.

"It's these small, informal private gatherings, most likely in homes, when we let our guard down," Governor Ned Lamont said. "It's our strong feeling that if we can limit those private gatherings for a period of time, it will make a real difference."

Other restrictions include:
--A 50% capacity limit for restaurants, with a maximum of 8 people per table
--Restaurants and entertainment venues such as bowling allies and movie theaters must close by 10 p.m., with the exception of food takeout and delivery services
--Hair salons, barber shops and other personal service businesses will remain at 75% capacity
--Event venues will be limited to 25 people indoors, 50 people outdoors
--Performing arts venues and movie theaters will have a maximum capacity of 100 people
--Religious gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity or 100 people maximum

Related: Connecticut announces pilot program for rapid testing in schools

Lamont said he wanted the restrictions in place ahead of Thanksgiving.

"It's a tough pill to swallow, I get it," he said. "Do it now, do it this Thanksgiving, put up with it, and we will be better in the long term."

The restriction will not apply to schools.

"The infection rate we're finding in schools, especially in the lower grades, is less likely to be spreading the virus," he said.

Related: Connecticut positivity rate hits highest mark since June

As of Thursday, 68 cities and towns in Connecticut were in the red zone alert level, the highest of the state's four alert levels.

Connecticut reported 1,175 new cases, bringing the state total to 77,060. There were 11 additional fatalities to raise the death toll to 4,656.

The positivity rate is 3.7%.

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