We are still “a few weeks” away from the time when Connecticut starts to relax the “Stay Safe. Stay Home” requirements.  (Officially, the rules are set to expire on May 20, 2020 and Governor Lamont has indicated that some businesses will reopen then.) But, beyond the recommendations of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Board, which so far are fairly broad, there are increasing signs that some opening back of the state is coming soon.

What will it look like?

The truth is we just don’t know yet which is why I’ve been reluctant to write about it so far, despite others doing so.

There are so many factors in play, including a look at the experiences of other states both nearby and far, to see how they are doing too.

Georgia is often cited for its seemingly-cavalier approach to reopening. Will it work? Time will tell.

Ohio, which has been cited for being ahead of the curve in its restrictions, has started to provide guidelines for opening back up.  There has been a lot of back and forth this week as to whether masks will be required in doing so.

And New Jersey is mapping out it’s “Road Back” too. Connecticut is working with New Jersey and other northeast corridor states to map out a strategy too.

Yesterday, Governor Ned Lamont offered his initial take on what might be required when businesses are allowed to reopen and that provided at least a notion now of what it might look like.

First, he suggested that small retail businesses — so called “Main Street businesses” — might be among the first to reopen.

But to do so, they may need to have measures in place to do so “safely”.  According to the Governor, “Safely means you can wear the mask, have the social distancing.” 

Beyond that, we don’t know exactly what will be required.

However, I suspect that the existing “Safe Workplace” and “Safe Retail” rules that have been put in place by DECD will continue to be the path forward.  Here are a few things from those rules that may continue to be followed:

  • Those employees who are able to work from home should continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
  • Significant reductions in the numbers of employees and customers allowed at one time
  • For workplaces, significant access control measures for external visitors
  • Masks or cloth face coverings will continue to be required, with limited exceptions
  • Physical distancing measures should be implemented; this may also include closing break rooms or cafeterias
  • Where possible, temperature checks may be implemented at the start of a shift
  • Retail stores may be limited in their capacity and high risk behaviors will be barred

Employers that are eager to be ready to open their workplaces should be studying the existing safe workplace rules for essential employers to see how they might implement these rules if they were to continue for non-essential workplaces too.

As for a “return to work” date? Stay tuned.