Gov. Ned Lamont has been leading the state by emergency powers, which has limited elected representation as a concession to battling the coronavirus pandemic. The arrangement, set to expire Feb. 8, recognizes the importance of rapidly responding to virus-related developments, and while the state needs to return to representative government, most in Connecticut would likely acknowledge the benefits of the governor’s careful and safety-driven approach to the crisis.
Not everyone has been happy with the situation, of course. In June, Kristine Casey, of Casey’s Irish Pub in Milford, sued, saying Lamont had exceeded his authority.
Casey’s plight is woefully familiar to struggling businesses throughout the state. In her lawsuit, she said her pub has been closed since March, and that she has paid $3,2000 a month in rent and $14,000 a month in other expenses. She is “hemorrhaging personal savings,” the lawsuit stated. “She is fast running out of funds and the shutdown forced upon her by the Governor’s executive orders will put her out of business if it continues much longer.”
It’s difficult not to sympathize, and in ruling that the governor’s orders are constitutional the state Supreme Court noted “the incredibly difficult economic situation that the plaintiffs and thousands of others across the state are in given the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Yet the governor is “charged with protecting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the state,” said the court, “and COVID-19 presents an unforeseen and unpredictable pandemic that is not a static or isolated crisis.”
As the Associated Press reported, it was an initial ruling, “that does not give many details on its reasoning.”
Yet we probably don’t need to wait on the details. We imagine the governor would like as much as anyone to end the restrictions. What would help is if local, state and the federal government did even more to support restaurants and bars and other businesses that have been closed or debilitated by the pandemic. As Casey’s suit and numerous stories across Connecticut have illustrated, that’s also an important part of the welfare of the state.