Connecticut to introduce fines for those not wearing masks or socially distancing

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont will sign an order that allows authorities to fine people $100 for violating the state’s mask mandate.

In addition to the fine for not wearing face coverings, the executive order, which is expected to be signed Tuesday, will include a $250 fine for attending indoor events with more than 25 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people. Those who are responsible for the large gatherings could be subject to a $500 fine, according to NBC News.

Connecticut’s chief operating officer, Josh Geballe, told the Hartford Courant that the fines are being implemented because the only enforcement mechanism in place was for authorities to charge violators with a misdemeanor, an action that is seen by some as too aggressive.

“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.”

The announcement of the fines also creates a sense of uniformity in the state, which already has some local municipalities that have implemented their own punitive measures. For example, Simsbury implemented a $250 fine for mask and distancing violations in May. The new statewide standards will reportedly supersede existing local measures.

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

Connecticut was one of the hot spots early on during the pandemic, likely in part due to its proximity to New York City and its share of residents who commute to the Big Apple for work.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state have significantly decreased from an April peak, although new infections have been slowly increasing over the past couple of weeks. There have been nearly 55,000 total infections and at least 4,485 deaths in the Constitution State since the pandemic began.

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