With Commissioner David Lehman

As Connecticut re-emerges from the pandemic and state guidelines change, the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association’s Tim Phelan had an opportunity to talk with David Lehman, Commissioner of Economic Development, on what retailers should expect going forward.

CRMA:  As CT’s reopens, what advice do you have for retailers, especially regarding the wearing of masks for customers and employees?

Commissioner Lehman: Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks indoors, but retailers have the option to require their employees and all customers, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to wear masks. I am confident retailers will make the right decision, as they know their customers best—in particular, the level of comfort during the in-person shopping experience. Additionally, the Connecticut Department of Public Health will be issuing revised recommendations and considerations for masks in businesses, which retailers may find useful.

CRMA:  Once the re-open begins, what are the key metrics that you will be watching to monitor how things are going and things we should look for regarding any future changes in state guidelines that might take place? 

We will continue to monitor infection rates and hospitalizations closely, which we hope will continue to decline as more people get vaccinated.  In terms of guidelines, I expect there will be minimal guidance needed as we move to a fully reopened economy.

CRMA:  Will all the appropriate websites be updated and can you share those links with us?

Yes.  The sector rules page will be updated today.

CRMA:  With so much of retail dependent on consumer behavior, people getting back into pre-pandemic routines, what is your sense of the overall business attitude towards reopen? For instance, are you getting the sense that more office buildings will re-open?

I think people are ready for a fully reopened economy.  That being said, employers, depending on the industry, are taking a measured approach to bringing their workers back to the office full-time.  I expect employers will bring back their workers gradually in the coming months but that some remote working will continue as well.  

Thank you.