Senate Presiden Martin Looney and Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield

While Wednesday’s opening day of the legislative session and inaugural events will be mask optional, Gov. Ned Lamont is asking people who are not feeling well to stay at home.

As Connecticut’s COVID-19 positivity rate reaches almost 20% and the state Capitol complex will be fully open for the first time in three years, Lamont is asking anyone who has close contact with someone who had COVID-19 recently to self-test before leaving home. 

“If you have a COVID-19 home test kit readily available, consider testing even if you feel well,” a press release from Lamont’s office reads. “This will help further minimize the chances that you may spread COVID-19 to others at a crowded event.”

The warning goes on to read: “Masks will be available at the events. Wearing a mask is one of the best ways to protect yourself when in a large crowd.”

Senate President Martin Looney said that they anticipate public hearings and committee meetings to be both in-person and virtual this year and the sign-up system implemented during the pandemic will continue. 

“People will still have the option to give testimony remotely,” Looney said Tuesday. 

He encouraged members to wear a mask and only take it off when speaking on the floor. 

He said they anticipate the House and Senate galleries to be open, but the ropes that prevent the public and lobbyists from interacting with lawmakers will be a little further away from the chambers than in previous sessions. 

He said the legislature has until June 7 to get their work done and those deadlines are not flexible. 

“People have become completely too casual about COVID,” Looney added. 

He said lawmakers will also be allowed to work virtually too if they wish.