HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecticut officials have announced new fines for those who violate an executive order put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The new fines include:
- $100 for violating the mask order (not wearing a mask while not social distancing. Those with a written doctor’s note are exempt).
- $250 for attending an event that exceeds the size limit (25 indoor, 100 outdoor).
- $500 for organizing an event that exceeds the size limit.
Officials said businesses will take responsibility for their employees, and individuals are responsible for their own actions.
Fines can be issued by law enforcement, local chief elected official designees and local public health officials.
Josh Geballe, COO of Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration, said the change came after a request from mayors, health directors, municipal leaders and others.
“The first tool that those municipal partners have is a misdemeanor, which could mean an arrest of someone,” he explained. “The consequence to that was there wasn’t really much that was being done because many people view that as excessively harsh for failing to wear a mask if they can’t socially distance.”
Geballe said it was a “step down in punishment” for violators.
Lamont added that it would be easier to implement than an arrest.
Connecticut’s coronavirus rates are some of the lowest in the country, but there’s been an uptick for nearly a week, prompting state officials to hand out free masks at bus and train stations in New Haven on Tuesday.
“We just want people to comply. And that’s why we’re out today distributing masks,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.
The governor’s office is still working to finalize the plan, which is set to take effect later this week.