Gov. announces fines will be issued to those not wearing face coverings

CNN/ Newswire | 9/15/2020, 10:02 a.m.

By Matthew Campbell, Kaitlyn Naples, Ayah Galal

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Connecticut will start issuing fines for those not wearing a mask and for those who gather in a large group.

Gov. Ned Lamont made the announcement during a briefing on Monday.

For someone not wearing a mask, there will now be a $100 fine.

Then, it’ll be $250 for attending a large gathering and $500 for organizing a large gathering.

The specific parameters were not yet defined.

As of Monday, the state stuck to the limits of 25 people indoor and 100 outdoor.

The limits do not apply to restaurants or businesses. It is unclear at this time if they apply to churches.

There was already an executive order in place for violating mask rules, but it was a misdemeanor which could have included an arrest.

The governor’s team said no one was really enforcing it with any strict consequences, so that’s why they’re shifting to the fine.

“Many people viewed that as excessively harsh for failing to wear a mask, so they asked for this new tool, an infraction, which is a bit of a step down enforcement, which could give them another set of tools in their toolkit to help ensure people were following the requirements at the local level,” said Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe.

"I think there should be something done about that, necessarily a $100 fine, maybe. I'm not completely opposed to it, I'm not saying people should get arrested for it," said Angie Phe.

On Monday, West Hartford center was busy and many people were wearing masks. Some, however, were not.

In some cases, those not wearing masks were separated by six feet or more.

"There's no reason to come down harder now. We're doing the right things and the numbers show it, let's keep on that track," said P.J. Louis.

State officials said the mask order will be enforced on the local level and will take effect sometime this week.