COVID Update 7.28July 28, 2020
This morning the Senate begins deliberation on the four bills that the House passed last week in special session. Three of those bills (re capping insulin costs, extending telehealth services, and making absentee ballots available in the November 3 general election) passed with no more than 5 votes in opposition, but the fourth, on police accountability, was much closer, with the final bill passing by 86 to 58.
It is the police accountability bill that has been the subject of most discussion following the House’s vote, with bulk of the attention focused on two sections in the bill: Sections 41 and 42, regarding the defense of qualified immunity.
The debate that preceded passage of the bill was emotional and raw, with advocates and critics taking up positions that made compromise difficult. I wrote an account of what happened over the course of those days, and how we found a substantial compromise, that you can find here.
It’s longer than what I usually post on social media, but there was depth to this situation, both in terms of the fear and anger that infused people’s views, and also in the significant legal complexity. And, as some have correctly pointed out, there were many other important parts of this bill that didn’t receive as much media attention or public advocacy. That attention also often did not follow the details of the compromise we struck, so I hope we will be having many clarifying conversations in the weeks to come.
Here’s a list of today’s topics:
- Executive Order No. 7JJJ, regarding workers compensation
- Update on absentee ballots for the August 11 primary
- Connecticut DMV announces additional deadline extensions
- Updated rules for specific industries announced
For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
Governor Lamont signs Executive Order No. 7JJJ regarding workers compensation
Governor Ned Lamont announced that he has signed an executive order creating a rebuttable presumption that workers who contracted COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic contracted it on the job and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Update on absentee ballots for the August 11 primary
Absentee ballots for the August 11 primary were originally planned to begin to be mailed out on July 21, but they have been delayed, and the mailing began yesterday, July 27.
Our dedicated town clerks have been fielding many calls from concerned voters who expected to see those ballots last week, worried that applications had not been received and processed. The delay was not caused by our town clerks, and they stand ready to help answer any questions from voters. Voters should start receiving absentee ballots for the primary this week.
Connecticut DMV announces additional deadline extensions
The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it has added to its list of extended deadlines for residents with expiring credentials. Eligible DMV credentials that expire between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 are automatically covered by this extension.
In addition to extending the expiration date of DMV credentials, late fees associated with eligible expired credentials will be waived during this time period of the extension for qualifying credentials.
Deadlines have been extended for the following DMV-related items:
· All licenses, permits, and identification cards: Lengthens the credential extension to 90 days for credentials that expire between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020.
· All registrations, including International Registration Plan and boat registrations: For credentials expiring between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020, credentials will be extended by 90 days from the expiration date.
· Emissions testing and retesting: For test due dates that fall between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020, the due date will be extended by 90 days from the emissions expiration date.
· Permanent disability placard: Any permanent disability placard that expires at the same time as a credential that is subject to an extension will be extended by 90 days.
· Business licenses: For credentials expiring between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020, credentials will be extended by 90 days from the expiration date.
· Temporary registrations: Temporary registrations obtained between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 are extended by 90 days.
· Temporary licenses, IDs, permits that contain a digital image: Expiration dates will be extended by 90 days for all temporary (paper) licenses obtained between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020.
· Flashing light permits: Expiration dates between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 are extended by 90 days.
· School bus proficiency tests: Extends the validity of school bus proficiency tests that are due between August 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 by 90 days.
For answers to questions, updates, or more information about these extensions or other previously-issued credential extensions, visit www.ct.gov/dmv, call 860-263-5700 (within the Hartford area) or 1-800-842-8222 (outside the Hartford area).
Updated rules for specific industries announced
The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development announced that after consulting with industry leaders and public health officials, some updates have been made to the state’s previously announced industry-specific rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. The updates provide more specific guidance, as well as new recommendations for a broad range of sectors.
· New rules for indoor recreation and expanded guidance for outdoor events.
· Changes impacting offices, personal services, hair salons and barbershops, retail, libraries, etc.:
o Nonessential businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask.
o In the event an employee tests positive for COVID-19, it is recommended the business implement a 24-hour passive decontamination and follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.
o For bathrooms, the positing of signage encouraging reduced capacity and reminding individuals to wash their hands and wear masks is suggested.
· Changes impacting restaurants:
o Serves are no longer required to wear gloves.
o Indoor performances are now allowed (with the exception of musical vocalists).
· Hotels are now permitted to provide nonessential services and amenities (e.g. valets, ice machines)
The updated rules go into effect immediately. Businesses and nonprofits that have already completed the self-certification process as part of Phases 1 and 2 do not need to re-register, but must comply with any new rules for their sector.
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.