State Rep. Harry Arora: Ending COVID Restrictions

Posted on May 10, 2021

We are winning the fight against COVID. The number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths have all declined rapidly as a result of the vaccination program. Below is an update on the vaccination program and the plan to unwind COVID restrictions.

Vaccination update, COVID immunity, Variant risk:
– Over 1.9 MM. or 70% of all adults in Connecticut have already received at least one dose. The vaccine is now easily available to all residents over 16. If you have been waiting to get the vaccine, please do so now. Click HERE to find a vaccine clinic close to you.
– A study released yesterday by the CT DPH shows that cases of fully vaccinated residents contracting the virus are very rare. “Vaccine breakthrough cases,” as these cases are called, were less than 0.1%. While experts discuss and debate herd immunity, an objective data-point is the end of deaths and hospitalizations. Based on current trajectory, this endpoint of zero mortality can be expected sometime between Memorial Day and July 4th.
– The key question is whether the vaccines will continue to be effective against the new variants. Recently published research has been promising in showing that these vaccines are working against other variants.

Removing COVID restrictions, End of state of emergency, Codifying certain executive orders
– State officials have indicated that All COVID business restrictions, including size limits and social distancing rules, are expected to be phased out starting May 19th. We will march at the Memorial Day parade like years before humbled but proud to have persevered. Indoor mask mandates are still not being removed but once we reach zero mortality I would expect that to happen.
– On May 20th, the COVID-19 health care and civil preparedness emergency is expected to end. Our legislature’s role will be restored in full. Next week, the legislature will consider a new robust framework to handle any future COVID like emergency, a framework in which the legislature continues to have a supervisory role.
– As your legislators, we have been working on codifying some of the Governor’s executive orders on telehealth and virtual visitation/monitoring of seniors in our nursing homes. Similarly our businesses, town governments and school systems are engaged in a healthy debate to decide what can continue to be virtual in our new normal life.

COVID economic programs
– New economic programs are still being announced under the American Rescue Plan. The rental assistance programbroadband assistance programhealthcare premium support have all become available in recent days for individuals impacted by COVID.
– The Restaurant Revitalization grants / Shuttered venue operator grants have been introduced for businesses who faced economic hardship as a result of the restrictions.
– The state of CT has received significant funds from the American Rescue Plan and the use of these funds will be determined in the forthcoming budget.
– The special unemployment support (PUA, PEUA) will continue until Sep 5th.