As of today, when Phase 2 of the state’s reopening begins, 95% of our economy is now open. In order to bring our economy back, we must build confidence with business owners, who need both clear rules and flexibility from the state as they respond to the challenges ahead; with workers, who need access to reliable and safe childcare, and to know that their workplace is safe so they don’t bring infection back to their families, and with consumers, who want to see that businesses care about their health so they can access the services and products they need.
All of those goals are served when we continue to wash our hands frequently, respect physical distancing, and continue to wear masks when that distancing can’t be achieved. Connecticut is moving in the right direction, and if we all continue to work together, we can keep that trend going.
As always, I appreciate hearing from you as you wrestle with reopening decisions and how they affect your lives and businesses. We can learn from each other as we move forward and work through this together.
Here’s a list of today’s topics:
- Executive Order No. 7AAA
- Executive Order No. 7ZZ including Phase 2 modifications, large gatherings, alcohol sales, and Off Track Betting
- Women’s Caucus pushed for nursing home investigation
- Updated guidance on indoor and outdoor gatherings released
- Businesses reminded to self-certify prior to Phase 2 opening starting June 17
- Connecticut Department of Transportation Reminds Travelers to Wear Face Coverings
- NW CT Chamber of Commerce: a webinar and a survey
- Update from Judicial Branch re previously scheduled hearings or trials for family court matters.
- Black Lives Matter Rally in North Canaan
For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit ct.gov/coronavirus and click the link that is labeled, “COVID-19 Data Tracker.”
Governor Lamont signs Executive Order No. 7AAA enacting the following provisions:
· Technical correction to Executive Order No. 7ZZ, Section 8: Clarifies that Executive Order No. 7F, Sections 3 through 5 remain in effect.
· Authority to modify limitation on group sizes in child care: Allows the commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood to increase permissible total numbers of children that a child care facility may serve in one space and in one facility.
· Waiver of requirement to hold annual agricultural fair and reporting requirement to maintain agricultural society property tax exemption: Allows agricultural and horticultural societies to continue to receive certain tax benefits without conducting a required annual agricultural fair.
· Mandatory COVID-19 testing for staff of private and municipal nursing home facilities, managed residential communities, and assisted living services agencies: Modifies the mandatory staff testing program for nursing home and other congregate setting staff to set conditions for testing to cease after 14 consecutive days without a positive case and to require resumed testing if any staff member or resident tests positive.
Governor Lamont signs Executive Order No. 7ZZ enacting the following provisions:
· Modifications to adapt to Phase 2 reopening efforts: In preparation for Phase 2 of Connecticut’s reopening efforts, which begins June 17, 2020, the executive order makes modifications to several previously issued executive orders to adapt to this change. This includes sectors such as hotels/lodging; indoor dining; personal services; sport and fitness facilities; amusement parks; and museums, zoos, and aquariums.
· Restrictions on large gatherings and events: Amends previously issued executive orders on large gatherings and events and permits the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development to issue rules on these gatherings except for religious gatherings.
· Further clarification of limits on alcohol sales by restaurants, bars, and private clubs: Allows hotel liquor permit holders to sell liquor with pick-up and delivery services under the same rules previously issued to other liquor permit holders.
· Restrictions of off-track betting extended: Extends the prohibition of operations at of-track betting facilities through July 20, 2020.
· Extension of essential business rules: Extends the previously issued rules on essential businesses for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency.
· Clarification of Executive Order No. 7MM: Clarifies that any activity permitted by the expedited approval process provided in Executive Order No. 7MM is allowed to continue throughout the public health and civil preparedness emergency, unless closed because of enforcement of existing law, permit conditions, or executive orders.
· Extension of remote notarization: Extends Executive Order No. 7Q, Section 3 for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency.
Women’s Caucus pushed for nursing home investigation
Yesterday I was proud to stand with other members of the bipartisan Women’s Caucus, legislative leadership, and the Governor, to commend the Governor’s announcement of a top-to-bottom review of the state’s preparation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic inside nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Working closely with Representative Michelle Cook, who lost her father-in-law to COVID while he was a resident in a local nursing home, a working group of women legislators has put together a detailed list of issues and questions we believe should be addressed, learning both from the searing and negative experiences of some, like my colleague Representative Cook, and the pragmatic, and positive examples set by several nursing homes in our region which have had low infection rates, particularly Sharon Health Care Center, which was the first nursing home to accept COVID-positive residents as a COVID Recovery Facility and has achieved commendable success because of its rigorous infection control procedures. Sharon Health Care Center’s skilled, dedicated and hard-working staff proved it could provide high-level care while keeping its residents, staff and our community safe and there are valuable lessons to be learned there.
|Updated guidance on indoor and outdoor gatherings released
Governor Lamont announced updated guidance for indoor and outdoor gatherings over the next several weeks. The plan is as follows:
Effective June 17:
· Indoor private gatherings – 25 people
· Outdoor gatherings – 100 people
· Outdoor event venues (e.g. amphitheaters, race tracks) – 25% of fire capacity and distancing (consistent with outdoor amusement parks)
Effective July 3:
· Indoor private gatherings – 25 people
· Outdoor private gatherings – 100 people, one time exception for graduations at 150 people
· Outdoor organized gatherings (e.g. fireworks, concerts in municipal parks) – 15 feet of space blanket to blanket, cap of 500 people; event organizer responsible for compliance with guidance
· Outdoor event venues (e.g. amphitheaters, race tracks) – 25% of fire capacity and distancing
Effective mid-July (date to be determined):
· Indoor private gatherings – 50 people
· Outdoor private gatherings (including graduations) – 250 people
· Outdoor organized gatherings (e.g. fireworks, concerts in municipal parks) – 15 feet of space blanket to blanket, no cap; event organizer responsible for compliance with guidance
· Outdoor event venues (e.g. amphitheaters, race tracks) – 50% of fire capacity and distancing
Businesses reminded to self-certify prior to Phase 2 opening starting June 17
Connecticut businesses that are eligible to open under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plans, which takes effect on Wednesday, June 17, are reminded to self-certify with the state prior to opening. The self-certification process demonstrates to the state that businesses understand and will comply with COVID-19 rules and regulations. It can be done quickly online at business.ct.gov/recovery.
Businesses included in Phase 2 include:
· Amusement parks
· Restaurants (indoor dining)
· Museums, zoos, and aquariums
· Indoor recreation (e.g. bowling, movie theaters, etc.)
· Outdoor events
· Personal services (e.g. nail salons, tattoo parlors, etc.)
· Sports and fitness facilities (e.g. gyms, fitness centers, pools, etc.)
To read the rules for each individual sector in both English and Spanish, click here.
Upon completion of the certification process, companies are encouraged to download a safety signage and badge for display at their place of business and/or on their website. Utilization of the materials is strictly voluntary.
Connecticut Department of Transportation Reminds Travelers to Wear Face Coverings; Be Aware of Social Distancing and Stay Safe
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) today announced a number of steps it has taken prioritize safety for all users of the transportation system as the state enters Phase 2 of its return to pre-COVID operations.
Train and bus service is gradually being augmented to provide service to additional travelers who are beginning to travel again for work and other purposes.
First and most importantly, public transportation users can help protect themselves, fellow riders, and transit workers by wearing face coverings and not riding public transportation when they are sick. This is the most effective way to promote public safety. CTDOT has also directed service providers to continue intensive daily cleaning of buses and rail cars until further notice. On the bus system, riders will continue to board through the rear door on buses so equipped. Some buses already feature clear plastic dividers between the bus driver and the general public and CTtransit is moving forward with the procurement and installation of additional driver barriers on other buses. These barriers are expected to be installed before Labor Day.
As the weather has improved and traffic volumes were depressed, the state saw a larger number of individuals walking and biking in many cities and towns. CTDOT is encouraging pedestrians to “Stop the Spread, Bump the Button” at pedestrian crosswalks. Pedestrians are advised – in English and Spanish – to use their elbow or arm, rather than their hands, to push the button for a walk signal. CTDOT has adhered “Bump the Button” decals to call buttons along state roadways and begun to replace agency-managed pedestrian crosswalk call buttons in several large cities, including Hartford and New Haven, with modern, larger call buttons for “bumping.” Additional cities will be considered for these call button upgrades as funding permits.
Bus service continues to operate on regular weekday and weekend schedules, providing service to countless essential workers who have continued to ride throughout the public health emergency. Bus ridership saw reductions of approximately 50 percent during the early weeks of the public health emergency. Ridership has begun to increase modestly following the Phase 1 reopening.
The pandemic also had the effect of dramatically reducing highway traffic volumes while at the same time causing a sharp uptick in speeding. CTDOT joined with the Connecticut State Police in a program urging motorists to slow down and “Help Our Heroes” – with electronic message boards along highways promoting the effort. As Connecticut enters Phase 2 of the recovery, CTDOT is continuing to stress dangers posed by speeding and encouraging travelers to observe speed limits, slow down, and watch out for crews in highway work zones.
CTDOT also reminded travelers that the 23 service plazas on I-95, Route 15, and I-395 are fully open for food, fuel, restrooms, and other amenities and travel conveniences. Enhanced cleaning services have been implemented. The seven rest areas along I-84, I-91, and I-95 have also returned to normal operations and staffing, with enhanced and more frequent cleaning in common areas.
NW CT Chamber of Commerce: a webinar and a survey
On Friday, June 19 at 8:30am-9:30am, the NW CT Chamber of Commerce is offering a webinar on “Maintaining a Positive Outlook,” presented by Wilbur Pike of Learning Dynamics. In order to gain access to this webinar you need to be registered. Click here to go register now. Shortly after you have registered, you will receive an email containing the link needed to join the webinar.
The NW CT Chamber is also conducting another business survey. As the Phase 2 reopening process begins, they’d like to hear from regional businesses on how it is going.
|Click here the text below to start the survey.
Update from Judicial Branch re previously scheduled hearings or trials for family court matters.
The Judicial Branch will be conducting virtual hearings of family court matters. All trials and specially assigned hearings that were scheduled to start or continue on dates on or after July 1, 2020, will be continued to dates to be determined later. Parties are neither required, nor encouraged, to file motions for continuance of any such trials or hearings.
For more information:
Black Lives Matter Rally in North Canaan
On Saturday, June 20 at 11am local students Brianna Webb and Xavier Johnson are organizing a Black Lives Matter rally in North Canaan, at Lawrence Field. Please wear a mask and respect physical distancing protocols.
Governor Lamont encourages residents to sign up for the state’s CTAlert notification system
Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to sign up for CTAlert, the state’s emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.
Providing information to Connecticut residents
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance. Relay services can be accessed by calling 7-1-1. Anyone who is out-of-state or using Relay can connect to Connecticut 2-1-1 toll free by dialing 1-800-203-1234. The hotline is intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.