NORWALK, Conn. — COVID-19 updates:
- Another 10 cases
- A startling headline
- Wheels2U stops rolling
- ‘Warm lines’
- Lamont’s latest
“Since yesterday, there are 10 new positive cases in Norwalk, bringing the total positive reported cases in Norwalk to 76. In Fairfield County, the number of new positive cases went from 546 to 607,” Mayor Harry Rilling’s daily update said.
“Since yesterday’s update, an additional 137 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,012. To date, more than 6,500 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories,” Gov. Ned Lamont’s update said. “Approximately 125 people have been hospitalized and there have been another 2 fatalities, bringing the total number of fatalities due to complications of COVID-19 to 21 (13 in Fairfield County, 3 in Tolland County, 2 in Hartford County, 2 in New Haven County, and 1 in Middlesex County).”
Business group to shut down
No free rides at present
Wheels2U, a microtransit service offering free rides in the urban area, has suspended its services, Rilling’s update said.
Make a phone call
“City officials remind the public that social distancing means creating physical distance between people, not socially isolating. It is important to use phone calls, video chats, and other means to stay connected with friends and loved ones,” Rilling’s update states.
“The Senior Services Coordinating Council has ‘warm lines’ available for seniors. Call (203) 434-3085 or (203) 434-1876 Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. to speak with a friendly voice,” it states. “Young adults can reach the Join Rise Be ‘warm lines’ at 1-855-6-HOPENOW seven days a week from noon to 9 p.m.”
“The term ‘social distancing’ is a new one for many, and the last thing I want to do is encourage residents to disconnect from the relationships, groups, and communities of which they are a part. It is important for all of us to remain socially connected with one another as this pandemic is likely going to be here for a while,” Rilling said in the update. “We can keep physical distance while maintaining social relationships. Please reach out to your friends, neighbors, and loved ones through the many available options. Even a friendly wave can really brighten someone’s day.”
CT a disaster zone
Lamont has submitted a request to FEMA for a presidential major disaster declaration for the State of Connecticut, his press release said. “If the disaster declaration is approved, Connecticut residents may have access to additional resources to support childcare, crisis counseling, and other needs identified as a result of the pandemic.”
His latest executive order enacts the following provisions:
- “Restricts all social and recreational gatherings to no more than five people: The order modifies the governor’s earlier executive order placing limits on the amount of people who can participate in social and recreational gatherings and reduces that number to no more than five people, through at least April 30, 2020 unless otherwise modified. This order includes, but is not limited to, community, civic, leisure, or sporting events; parades; concerns; festivals; plays or live performances; conventions and similar activities; except that religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings will remain subject only to the prohibition of 50 persons or more. This does not apply to government operations, private workplaces, retail establishments, or other activities that are not social or recreational gatherings.
- “Restricts restaurant payment and pickup operations: Where reasonably practicable, the order requires restaurants, eating establishments, and any bars that remain open for sales of food for off-premise consumption to limit entrance of customers or third party delivery personnel into their locations to the minimum extent necessary to pick up and/or pay for orders, use touchless payment systems, and require remote ordering and payment. The order does not require businesses to acquire or use ordering or payment technology that they do not already have, doesn’t prohibit drive-through ordering and pickup, and doesn’t prohibit in-person payment or cash payment where this is no reasonable alternative. Previously issued guidance for hospital and business cafeterias remains in effect.
- “Further restricts retail operations: The order requires all retail establishments that have been allowed to remain open and permit customers inside to take appropriate and reasonable measures to ensure customers maintain six feet of distance between each other and to manage any resulting lines to maintain such distance while people are waiting to enter. It also requires these establishments, where reasonably practical, to employ touchless payment technology if they already have such technology available and the customer has such technology available.
- “Requires firearm transactions to be conducted by appointment only: The order requires all retail businesses that sell firearms, ammunition, and other similar components or supplies to conduct all transactions by appointment only in order to limit person-to-person contact as much as possible, effective immediately. Appointments must be limited in order to allow a six-foot distance between any customers and staff in a store, and only customers conducting such transactions will be allowed in the store.
- “Suspension of tax on single-use checkout bags: The order temporarily suspends certain state statutes in order to suspend any tax on single-use plastic checkout bags at grocery stores and other retail businesses.
- “Prohibits employers from requiring employees to place items in customers’ reusable bags: The order prohibits employers of any grocery store or retail business from requiring their employees to bag items into a customer-provided reusable bag. Customers are still permitted to use reusable bags, but they may need to bag their own items.
- “Suspends 21-month limit on Temporary Family Assistance: The order modifies certain statutes and regulations to exclude from the 21-month time limit on receipt of Temporary Family Assistance all months of such assistance received during the public health and civil preparedness emergency. Suspending the time limit for this program will help families get the time and resources they need to get back on their path to self-sufficiency after the emergency is over.
- “Suspends school testing assessments for the 2019-2020 school year: Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major disruption on schools, the order waives all annual student assessment test requirements for the current school year.”
And, businesses can apply for the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program:
- “The emergency loan program created by Governor Lamont that provides no-interest loans to Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits hurt by the global spread of COVID-19 has now launched. Businesses and nonprofits can begin applying for the program, which was created to provide immediate assistance with cash flow. For more information, read the press release issued today by Governor Lamont.”