‘We’re excited’: COVID-19 restrictions lifted in Fairfield

File photo of Brenda Kupchick, Conn. Oct. 9, 2019.

File photo of Brenda Kupchick, Conn. Oct. 9, 2019.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

FAIRFIELD — Over the course of the last year, the world experienced a lifestyle that was anything but normal.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to grow and the true impact of the virus was realized, the world began to shut down and restrictions were put into place to stop the spread.

But as of May 19, most restrictions in Connecticut have been lifted and residents can finally start to return to their normal lives.

“I think not only for the Chamber, but also for our entire community coming off of a difficult year it’s just very exciting,” said Beverly Balaz, the Chamber of Commerce’s president. “ It’s very much welcomed.”

Gov. Ned Lamont and the state of Connecticut have updated their protocols to align with the recently modified recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Masks are no longer required while outdoors, however, masks are required indoors unless a person is vaccinated. Everyone must still wear masks in certain settings, such as healthcare facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools and childcare places.

Businesses, as well as state and local government offices, have the option to require masks be worn by everyone in their buildings.

While the pandemic is still very much a major concern, this restriction lift has been seen as a big step in the right direction.

“We’re excited for our residents,” Balaz said. “You see restaurants putting tables outside on the sidewalk area to create really nice outdoor areas that can accommodate diners who don’t feel comfortable going indoors yet, but I think the loosening of the restrictions is very welcomed for sure.”

Balaz, she is excited about the restriction lift and believes it will certainly benefit not only the community, but the businesses in Fairfield.

“Of course we still have to follow and be careful, but I think this is just wonderful and that everyone is excited,” said Balaz.

With the restrictions lifted and the excitement high, previously closed industries have now been opened.

“The restriction lift is definitely going to allow us to be busier and keep people working,” said Fairfield’s Little Pub’s manager, Taylor Vonn. “It’s going to allow people to come in, spend money, enjoy themselves and enjoy their family and friends. It’s definitely going to be a really good thing.”

He pointed out a potential challenge though. With the proof of vaccinations not being mandated, most industries will be relying on the honor code.

“I don’t see any issues arising other than checking to see if people are actually vaccinated or not,” Vonn continued. “We don’t have a bouncer at the door checking people so it’s going to be like the honor system. If they say they are, they are, but we haven’t had an issue with that yet.”

Outside of the restaurant industry, Fairfield town hall also reopened for the first time since the shutdown. The public will still be required to wear masks for the time being, First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said during this week’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

“I know businesses are feeling a little confused right now because they don’t know what to do, but what we have said is ‘Do what you feel comfortable doing,’” said Kupchick. “If you want the mask sign up and you want the people who come into your facility or business to wear a mask, that’s your business and you have the right to do that.”

She welcomed town hall’s reopening.

“I’m excited about the full person reopening of our operations at town hall,” Kupchick continued. “It will be a nice change.”