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We need to ‘trim our freedoms’ to keep the economy open: Connecticut governor

Ben Werschkul
·Senior Producer and Writer
·2 min read

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.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont prepares to cast his vote at Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut, on November 3, 2020. - The United States started voting Tuesday in an election amounting to a referendum on Donald Trump's uniquely brash and bruising presidency, which Democratic opponent and frontrunner Joe Biden urged Americans to end to restore "our democracy." (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont in Greenwich, Connecticut on Tuesday as he prepared to vote. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Cases are up in most parts of the country. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
Cases are up in most parts of the country. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

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.

Read more:

NJ governor on coronavirus lockdown: 'If we have to shut the whole place down we will'

Trump and his allies are 'seeking to divide' on coronavirus restrictions: Oregon governor

Coronavirus ‘dramatically accelerated’ e-commerce up to 5+ years: Kohl's CEO

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