With coronavirus on the rise, Connecticut recently instituted a new rule mandating that restaurants in the state close at 9:30 p.m. and scale back their maximum indoor capacity from 75% to 50%.
It’s an impingement on business that Gov. Ned Lamont, in an interview with Yahoo Finance, says may be the only thing between his state and another lockdown.
“I'm doing everything I can,” he said. If “we trim our freedoms there a little bit, we'll all be alive, safe, and be able to keep our economy open."
Connecticut has recently seen a spike in cases with a seven-day-average nearing the high levels of March.
Restaurant owners have already protested Lamont’s move, arguing it will destroy profit margins. But the governor says he’s doing it to stave off something far worse.
"We see what's going on in France, Germany, Britain, which is maybe three weeks ahead of us,” Lamont said. “And they are in lockdown."
Nearby New Jersey has also been wrestling with the chances of another lockdown. “If we have to shut the whole place down we will,” New Jersey Gov, Phil Murphy recently told Yahoo Finance.
‘Those informal social interactions’
Lamont stressed that “informal social interactions” were the main culprit behind the spike. “It wasn't at school, it wasn't at the workplace, [it] wasn't even in the houses of worship," he said.
His message has been echoed recently by other state leaders, including one almost 3,000 miles away. “I know we are all sick of hearing it,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown told reporters before also pointing to informal social gatherings as the main culprit of a spike in coronavirus cases in her state.
Lamont says the restrictions on restaurants were necessary because “a restaurant turns into something like a bar after 9:30 at night, so let's just make it for eating.”
As a whole, Connecticut residents are “willing to trim our sails a little bit to get that done,” he says. “Hopefully, we can keep our schools open."
Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.