Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said Monday that the state will impose fines on people who do not adhere to the state’s mask mandate and limits on event capacity.
Under a new executive order issued from Lamont, residents will be at risk of up to $100 fines for not wearing masks, up to $250 for going to large unauthorized events and up to $500 for planning unauthorized events, according to the Hartford Courant.
Under present rules, events are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
Connecticut Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said the order is set to take effect Thursday at midnight, according to the Courant. He told the newspaper the state has struggled with how to enforce the mandates.
Local officials currently can issue a $1,000 fine for a violation of the state travel advisory or a misdemeanor charge, which many local officials consider excessive.
“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 told the Courant. “So they asked for this new tool, an infraction that was a bit of a step-down enforcement.”
Fines already exist for some individual municipalities in the state such as the town of Simsbury, where a violation of either masking or social distancing orders is punishable by a $250 fine.
“It’s come up over and over again, to the point where we felt it was an appropriate thing to do,” Geballe told the Courant.
The order comes as the state’s positivity rate for coronavirus tests has been on the rise. The rate hovered below 1 percent between mid-July and early September, but reached 1.5 percent last Wednesday and has not returned below 1 percent since.
As of Tuesday the state has 54,895 confirmed cases and 4,485 confirmed deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.