During the COVID-19 pandemic, states have developed reopening processes with phases that determine the acceptable size of gatherings and which types of businesses are permitted to open. Currently, Connecticut is in Phase II of its reopening process. During this phase, the majority of its businesses ranging from amusement parks to libraries are permitted to operate with capacity limits and other restrictions. Phase III was set to begin sometime in the next few weeks, but Governor Ned Lamont announced in a news conference on July 6th that this next phase would be delayed indefinitely.
This delay would mean that bars will remain closed. Indoor spaces with poor circulation have shown to be a culprit in spreading COVID-19. The indoor environment of many bars combined with a high number of people in a tight space is inadvisable, so this indefinite closure could be seen as a wise choice. The summer months are typically when tourists flock to Connecticut’s shoreline. The cautious approach Governor Lamont has shown may mean fewer tourist dollars for the state, but will likely ultimately pay off with smaller case numbers.
Recently Connecticut has experienced far fewer COVID-19 cases than many other states, and an attitude of caution led to a travel advisory and restrictions on travelers from certain states with a high rate of cases.
Connecticut’s neighbor New York has chosen to reopen different parts of the state at different paces. The Mid-Hudson region entered Phase 4 on July 7th, while Long Island entered Phase 4 the following day. This approach of assessing counties and regions differently makes sense for a state like New York. Reopening New York City at a slower pace might be an effective way to stave off a rise in new cases, as New York City was the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States until relatively recently.
In contrast to the situation in Connecticut, In Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to close and rolled back the reopening process after cases began to rise. At present, Texas is a hotspot for new COVID-19 cases.
Does this cautious approach contribute to how well Connecticut is doing relative to other states? This decision to delay Phase III is a preemptive move that could prevent the state from backtracking later after opening bars and relaxing restrictions too soon. Perhaps other states could look to Connecticut and its neighbors as an example of how effective a slow reopening process can be, and how a willingness to take a step back and reevaluate the reopening process can be valuable.
Caroline is from Niantic, Connecticut, and currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 2017, majoring in International Relations and Hispanic Studies. She then worked as a field organizer on political campaigns in Connecticut and at the Connecticut General Assembly in Hartford until 2020, when she enrolled at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy with concentrations in International Security and Conflict Resolution. She hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy. In her free time Caroline enjoys traveling, playing tennis, going to the beach, and walking with her dog, Gia.