Coronavirus News: Reopening begins in Connecticut

GREENWICH, Connecticut (WABC) -- Many Connecticut stores, attractions and restaurants reopened on Wednesday with restrictions in the first phase of Gov. Ned Lamont's plan to reopen the state from its COVID-19 shutdown.

The state allowed the reopening of outdoor dining areas, offices, retail shops and malls, museums and zoos, and outdoor recreation businesses - all with social distancing requirements and capacity limits.

Despite the opportunity to reopen, the majority of shops at Trumbull Mall in Fairfield remained closed on Wednesday.

"I was on my way to the Apple store but there weren't open I had a problem with my phone," Davon Jefferson of Stratford said.

Even though strict guidelines were in place to wear masks and hand sanitizer was available, management says individual stores are still preparing to meet the reopening rules.

In Stamford, customers got a chance to eat outside in the sun. Tables were carefully spaced out.

Shops in downtown Fairfield including home design boutique 'KL and Sam' relieved to open their doors after weeks of struggling.

"Really tough. We've come in to try to do curbside. It's not easy," Samantha Kilcoyne of KL and Sam said.

But, there is a bright side.

"We are thrilled to be back. We are thrilled to see humans," Kerry Lee if KL and SAM said.

RELATED: Connecticut's four-phased plan to reopening

"There is a balance and there's nothing that's risk free," Gov. Ned Lamont said. "I think we can proceed with very thoughtful bases with those businesses that are least like to be dangerous, most likely to have a real economic value for the state. and I'm looking forward. I think this is a good day for the state."

Hair salons are not allowed to reopen until June 1 and that prompted a protest in New Haven outside the skull and combs company.

Some barbers and stylists are demanding to open now, which was going to be the plan, but the governor changed his mind and pushed it back to June after he says some other salons said they were not ready.

The governor issued an executive order Monday night extending a ban on large gatherings and keeping restrictions on off-track betting, indoor fitness studios and movie theaters until possibly June 20, at the earliest.

Lamont said he plans to keep tabs over the coming weeks on how many people are following social distancing rules, such as wearing masks, as well as infection and hospitalization rates, before making a final decision.

"I think it's too early to say what's going to happen on the (June) 20th," Lamont said.

Lamont's latest order also allows police, local and district health directors, and municipal leaders to enforce restrictions on this week's partial reopening.

Additionally, the order allows day camps to begin operating June 22 but prohibits residential or sleepover camps from operating during the duration of the public health emergency.

Day camps must follow health and safety requirements, including limits on the number of children that can gather in groups and stricter health and sanitation practices.

Summer school and other educational programs operated by local or regional school boards may not begin until July 6, with some exceptions.

--
With information from the Associated Press

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