Connecticut’s governor on Tuesday increased fines for businesses found in violation of COVID-19 rules to $10,000.
Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order escalated the fines from $500, citing feedback from municipal leaders, public health officials, and “people from within the business community.”
“The sector rules and capacity limits we’ve implemented are intended to mitigate the spread of this disease to the greatest extent possible,” Lamont said in a statement, referring to COVID-19.
“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,” he added.
“Increasing compliance with the protocols we’ve already enacted is an important responsibility in keeping our communities safe. We want to do everything we can to mitigate the further spread of this virus while avoiding the implementation of more restrictions or lockdowns on our already hard-hit economy and small businesses.”
The order states that an owner or person having possession of, or exercising dominion and control over a nonresidential property, who violates rules limiting the size and capacity shall be subject to a fine of $10,000 per violation.
Private gatherings at residential properties and religious gatherings are exempt.
Enforcement is delegated to local health directors.
People who are fined can appeal to the Department of Public Health.
The new fines start at 12:01 a.m. on Thanksgiving.
State Rep. Vincent Candelora, a Republican, said in response that the increased fine “is a punch in the gut to the state’s business community, which for months has struggled with ever-changing and often confusing directives from the governor’s team.”
“Scaring employers into compliance with the threat of a big fine isn’t what’s needed, and this path will only erode what little confidence they have in [the] state government’s ability to help them through a period of recovery,” he added.
Other fines in place in Connecticut include $500 for organizers of events that run over limits set by state officials, $250 for attending such events, and $100 for not wearing a mask in public.
Symptoms include cough, fever, and chills.