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Lamont Issues New Fines for Wearing No Mask

By Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer

HARTFORD – Gov. Ned Lamont announces Monday that there are new fines aimed at residents, who undermine the state’s masking and gathering mandates during the novel Coronavirus.

Based on these new rules, residents could be fined $100 for violating the mask mandate, $250 for attending a large event and $500 for organizing a large, unsanctioned event.

Currently, the state has capped events at 25 people indoors or 100 people outdoors.

According to Josh Geballe, the state’s chief operating officer, the order was issued on Tuesday and went into effect at midnight on Thursday.

According to Geballe, the new fines were created out of a collaboration between state and local officials, including local law enforcement and health departments.

While Connecticut was able to flatten the curve, the state’s positivity rate has climbed over one percent again to 1.2 percent in recent days as more colleges and schools reopened, a fact that Lamont said figured in his decision to sign the new executive order.

“I think the numbers are still trending in the right direction,” Lamont said

Municipalities have struggled with enforcement of the state’s coronavirus-related mandates since the pandemic began.

Geballe said that it is a challenge to enforce these rules in a realistic sense.

“There wasn’t really much that was being done, because many people viewed[a misdemeanor charge as excessively harsh for failing to wear a mask if you couldn’t socially distance,” Geballe said. “So they asked for this new tool, an infraction that was a bit of a step-down enforcement.”

Geballe said that decisions to make stricter rules were always on past discussions.

“It’s come up over and over again, to the point where we felt it was an appropriate thing to do,” Geballe said.

As of Sept. 19, 2020, there have been 55,527 positive cases of the virus and 4,492 deaths with 77 patients currently hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Email us: editor@thehartfordguardian.com
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