HARTFORD, CT – Gov. Ned Lamont is looking to start reopening some businesses, restaurants, and some outdoor recreational areas on May 20.
With the eighth straight day of declining COVID-91 hospitalizations, Lamont was optimistic they will be able to begin reopening on May 20.
The reopening, if all thresholds are met, will be done in phases by industry and not by region.
And while hospitalizations are down, Connecticut is still averaging around 2,000 coronavirus tests per day, which may not be enough to give the state confidence to begin to reopen.
Dr. Albert Ko said they would like to see about 6,000 tests per day being performed to be able to move forward with confidence.
“That’s three times what we’re doing now,” Ko said.
He said it’s important because they want everyone who has COVID-like symptoms to be able to get tested.
“A majority of people may not have the COVID virus, but we want to be able to test them,” Ko said. “That allows us to learn whether loosening up these restrictions, at the same time enforcing strong social distancing, whether we’re going to have a bump or a resurgence, so that’s an important thing we’re all working to implement.”
He said the testing will be key to make sure they don’t reach a point where they would have to pull back some of restrictions they’ve loosened.
“We want to catch those early symptoms,” Ko said. “We don’t want to wait until people die.”
He said they want to keep an eye on the data because it will tell them if infections are rising and why they are rising.
Indra Nooyi, chairwoman of the Reopening Advisory Committee, said they will likely have to do marketing to bring people back into establishments that have been closed. She said the experience in other states is that people have stayed away when these businesses reopen.
She said it will take three or four weeks after reopening to get some idea of whether the unemployment picture has improved as a result of the reopening.
Meanwhile, more than 436,000 Connecticut residents have filed unemployment claims since March 13.
Lamont said about 11% of unemployment claims are coming from industries that have been allowed to stay open.
Lamont said he doesn’t think consumers are going to rush out to restaurants and nail salons and cause a public health hazard.
The requirement to wear a face covering or mask will continue.