HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont is ordering all nonessential businesses to close for a month Monday to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Look, this is tough medicine. I think it is the right medicine,” Lamont said.
The effected businesses will be closed from 8 p.m. on Monday through April 22 under the sweeping executive order that the governor issued Friday.
His “Stay Safe, Stay At Home” policy will exempt ongoing major construction projects, large manufacturers, health care and child care providers, banks and related financial institutions, and transportation, among other businesses.
Lamont and Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said some retail businesses would also be allowed to remain open, including grocery stores, gas stations, auto shops, hardware stores and liquor stores.
“Don’t open your retail store unless you’re involved in some essential service like food, grocery stores or health care as in pharmacies, fuel as in gas stations.” Lamont said. “I want to see all the rest of those nonessential services closed, closed for at least a few weeks, or for the foreseeable future.”
The number of people confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus rose by more than 100 on Sunday, and three more people have died, bringing the number of deaths in the state from the pandemic to eight.
Lamont announced the latest numbers in a release Sunday evening. There were 327 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state spread around all eight counties as of Sunday, Lamont said.
Of the 327 cases, eight were fatal and 51 people are hospitalized with the virus.
Lamont and Geballe said state and local police will enforce the governor’s stay-at-home order. Lamont said enforcement will be firm, but not heavy-handed.
“If there is a local retail store that stays open, it will be a friendly reminder that the governor has an executive order and you should be closed, and people could be subject of fines if they stay open,” he said.
State law makes it a felony offense to violate the terms of the civil preparedness and public health emergencies that Lamont has declared. Convictions carry a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
The executive order also bars municipalities from imposing emergency orders that prohibit travel or confine people to their residences without the approval of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. No local orders may conflict with any of Lamont’s directives.
The executive order authorizes David Lehman, the state commissioner of Department Economic and Community Development, to designate businesses as essential or nonessential.
On Sunday evening, Lamont’s office provided an updated list clarifying which businesses and organizations will be considered essential:
Health care operations: hospitals, walk-in clinics, medical and dentist offices, veterinary and animal health services, research and lab services, physical therapy and chiropractic offices, pharmacies, nursing homes and residential care facilities, medical wholesale and distribution, medical supplies and equipment providers, medical marijuana dispensaries and producers, pharmaceutical companies, home health care, elder care, consumer heath products and services and biotechnology therapies.
Infrastructure: hotels, airports and airlines, commercial trucking, dam maintenance and support, support for students including remote learning and the provision of meals, utilities, wastewater and drinking water operations, telecommunications, transportation infrastructure.
Manufacturing: all manufacturing including aerospace and agriculture, including their supply chains and support businesses.
Retail: pharmacies, all food and beverage stores including grocery stores and liquor stores, pet stores, big-box stores or wholesale clubs that also sell groceries or consumer health products or have a pharmacy in them, hardware stores, gas stations, convenience stores.
Food and agriculture: farms and farmer’s markets, food manufacturing, processing, storage and distribution facilities, nurseries, garden centers, agriculture supply stores and restaurants that are complying with Lamont’s previous order to only provide food via take out or delivery.
Other services: child care services, mail and shipping, news and media, laundromats and dry cleaners, insurance companies, trash and recycling, religious services that limit gatherings to 50 people, funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, banks credit unions and check cashing services, auto supply and repair shops, towing and roadside assistance, building cleaning and maintenance, bicycle repair and service, animal shelters and animal care, including boarding, grooming, pet walking and pet sitting, legal, accounting and payroll services, financial advisors, critical operations support for financial operations, marinas and marine repair and service, real estate, storage for essential businesses and warehouse, distribution, shipping and fulfillment.
Providers of basic necessities: food banks, homeless shelters and human services providers.
Construction: electricians, HVAC services and plumbers, commercial and residential construction and related businesses including planning, engineering, design and bridge inspection.
Safety and sanitation operations: law enforcement, building cleaners, janitors, pest control, outdoor maintenance and landscaping, disinfection, doormen, emergency management and response, fire prevention and response, maintenance, home-related services including real estate transactions.