Connecticut's Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the state would broadly reopen from their pandemic lockdown by March 19.
The governor cited a decrease in coronavirus cases and a successful vaccine rollout as the reasons behind the ease in lockdown restrictions.
"While it is encouraging to see the number of cases in our state gradually going down and people getting vaccinated at rates that are among the highest in the nation, we need to continue taking this virus seriously to mitigate its spread as much as possible," Lamont said in a statement on Thursday.
Lamont had previously scheduled to begin reopening the economy in May.
"Please continue to wear face coverings in public and when around other people outside of your households, maintain social distancing, and keep washing your hands and cleaning surfaces," he continued. "Connecticut has made tremendous strides to combat this pandemic, and we don't want to lose the progress that we've made."
The statement indicated that masks and face coverings would continue to be required. Bars that serve only beverages would remain closed, but large event stadiums would be scheduled to open in April.
WNBC-TV reported that the state had a coronavirus positivity rate of 1.86%, with 15 daily deaths from the virus. About 1,086,000 residents of Connecticut, about 21.3% of the population, had received at least their first shot.
The announcement followed upon that of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who lifted all coronavirus pandemic restrictions in his state. President Joe Biden responded by referring to the state leaders as "neanderthals" for reopening far too quickly in his estimation.
"I think it's a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody's realized by now, these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we're able to get vaccines in people's arms...And the last thing — the last thing — we need is the Neanderthal thinking," said Biden on Wednesday.
Coronavirus infection and death rates are seeing a decrease across the country and worldwide. On Wednesday Biden said that a deal made with pharmaceutical companies would result in a faster rate of vaccinations nationally.
Here's a news video about the announcement:
Connecticut Announces Major Rollback On Capacity Restrictionswww.youtube.com