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Gov. Ned Lamont informed state employees Thursday afternoon that they are expected to return to their state offices on July 1, while those who serve customers must return sooner, by June 1.

The decision comes 15 months after most the state’s 30,000 employee workforce were directed to work from home to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

“The past 15 months have tested our state in ways we never could have imagined, but your dedication has helped Connecticut mount one of the most comprehensive and effective responses in the nation,” Lamont wrote in his memo to the state’s workforce.

The announcement comes on the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks indoors and outdoors, and a week before nearly all business restrictions are lifted in Connecticut.

“In line with businesses across the state, it is time for us to plan for our new normal working environment,” Lamont wrote employees. “With low levels of community spread and use of masks in common areas or where distancing is not possible, we are confident it is safe to return to the office.”

The governor left the door open to potentially allowing more state employees to telework in the near future. Before the pandemic, employees were allowed to work from home 50% of the time if their manager approved.

“As we move forward, the state will continue discussions with the unions in an effort to finalize the telework guidelines that contemplates the considerable experience gained during this challenging period,” Lamont wrote.

For those who may have concerns about returning to the office, Lamont said the best approach to allay those fears is to get vaccinated. The letter does not indicate, however, that the administration intends to require state employees to be vaccinated.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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