HARTFORD - A small number of flagrant violations and concerns about the holiday shopping season has prompted Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to imposed a steep new $10,000 fine on businesses that break the state’s coronavirus rules.
The new fine will replace the current $500 maximum penalty beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the Democratic governor announced Tuesday evening. A small number of restaurants have been cited for essentially operating as bars, which have been ordered closed during the pandemic.
“While the overwhelming majority of businesses in Connecticut have shown an incredible amount of leadership and have been fantastic partners in this front, we have seen a small number of businesses in flagrant violation of these public health rules, and that’s all you need to cause a super-spreading event that leads to a large number of cases and hospitalizations," Lamont said in a statement.
The governor said the harsher fine was the result of concerns by municipal leaders, public health officials and people in the business community. He also cited concerns about keeping workers and customers safe during Black Friday and the rest of the holiday shopping season.
The state has an array of rules on businesses during the pandemic. Restaurants, for example, are limited to 50% capacity, a maximum of eight people per table and must stop inside dining service at 9:30 p.m.
Local health directors or other municipal officials can issue the fines with the support of police.