On April 30, Gov. Ned Lamont said May 20 would be the day that currently closed businesses, including restaurants, stores and hair and personal care shops, could take baby steps toward a new normal in Connecticut, with mandatory social distancing and aggressive sanitizing in place.

The slow reopening depends on a decline in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continuing, Lamont and the co-chairs of his Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group said Thursday.

Restaurants would be limited to outdoor service, with no bar areas open. Darien has several restaurants with outdoor venues. Some offices would be allowed to open, but the state would encourage companies to keep employees working from home, if possible. Read more here.

The state also released data this week showing nursing home deaths associated with COVID-19 now account for about 55 percent of all the fatalities statewide linked to the disease. The state also showed the stats for assisted living facilities. None of the data shows any incidents in either in Darien. Read more here.

Numbers

As of April 30, there are 27,700 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 2,257 deaths in Connecticut.

In Darien, as of April 29, there have been 188 cases reported, 11 hospitalization and four deaths.

According to First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, 21 households in Darien had two positive cases, and five households have three positive cases.

Economic impact

The Representative Town Meeting recently voted to approve a tax relief deferal program that would mean allowing some commercial and residential tax payers a delay in paying local taxes until Oct. 1 instead of August. Read more here.

The Board of Selectmen adjusted their budget as per discussions with the Board of Finance to flatten any tax levy for the next fiscal year. Read more here.

The Board of Education is currently having a difficult discussion about reducing their budget. More to come on that at DarienTimes.com but the meeting can be viewed here on Darien TV 79.

Good news

Darien’s boys and girls hockey teams collected donations to send lunches from Mama Carmela’s to Stamford Hospital staff. Read more here.

An auction to benefit Corbin Cares of dozens of works of art by Darien artist Nobu Miki raised over $10,000. Read more here.

Children are helping to make face masks for refugees working with Make-Modern studio. Read more here.

Baywater is offering many virtual activities including cocktail lessons, another concert on Friday night, wine tastings, fitness classes and more. Read more here.

The Community of Fund of Darien is offering a community family meal that can be ordered from Michael Joseph’s catering for pick up Saturday, May 9. A portion of the proceeds will go to those in need of meals. Read more here.

Testing

Darien is conducting testing at Darien High School Monday afternoons and Friday mornings.

Dr. Steven Murphy said Murphy Medical Associates hopes to continue to add dates as staff and supplies are available. Stevenson said that those who want a test do not need a doctor’s prescription, they can visit coronatestct.com.

Murphy Medical and the town are also exploring the ability to provide antibody testing in Darien when it is available — it is unclear when that might happen.

As to how you know if you have recovered from the coronavirus, Stevenson said the patient must be symptom free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducers. Then you will be tested twice within 24 hours and both tests must come back negative.

More info: darienct.gov

Schools

Darien Schools remain closed through at least May 20. A plan to reopen schools in the state on May 20 — and in the fall — will be dictated by safety, Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona said on Thursday. Read more here.

Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley updated the Board of Education and the community about the new proposed grading plan for eLearning. Secondary students will have a different plan than elementary school students. Read more here.

Darien students chosen as the district’s best Young Composers put on a concert via YouTube. Watch here.

Darien High School’s percussion group performed a virtual original composition and shared. Watch here.

Other students took a musical and humorous approach to eLearning. Watch here.

As the school closures continue, the district is now offering free grab-and-go lunches to all district students. Read more here.

The Darien Times is partnering with the Darien Athletic Foundation to spotlight seniors in spring sports. Check out all the profiles here.

Mental health series

The Town of Darien, along with DAF Media, the Darien Foundation, and Darien TV 79 have partnered to create a 14-part video series addressing all aspects of mental health. It is currently uploaded to Darien TV 79’s Vimeo site. Read more here.

Farmers’ Market

The planned opening for the Farmers Market is Wednesday, June 3, in the same location as in the past—Goodwives Shopping Center. Social distancing will be in place. Read more here.

Virtual visiting

Many of Darien’s non-profit organizations are offering ways to participate virtually.

The Darien Historical Society is offering virtual tours and asking residents to contribute photos or videos to document the historical time of this pandemic. Read more here.

The Mather Homestead is offering a blog that details what historical treasures are found in its attic. Read more here.

The Darien Community Association is holding its annual plant sale online starting May 1. Read more here.

The Darien Library offers many online resources on its website. Read more here.

The Darien Arts Center is offering online classes that can be taken virtually in drawing, music, and more. Read more here.

The Depot Youth Center is partnering with the Darien YMCA to offer virtual online yoga classes. Read more here.

Presidential primary

The primary has been postponed again to August. Read an announcement from the registrar here.

Closed/businesses

The community gardens at Cherry Lawn park are open, but the park is closed to vehicular traffic. Residents must bring their own tools and not share tools. Read more about the gardens here.

Town Hall remains closed to walk-in traffic. Paddle tennis courts at Weed Beach and the tennis courts and Cherry Lawn and Weed Beach are closed until further notice. All park picnic areas in town are now closed.

Darien High School is closed to vehicular traffic but residents may traverse it to get from point A to point B. Read all the details of the current open and closed information here.

Darien Police have reminded those using the roads for walking and biking along with vehicles as open spaces are closed of the laws that govern each. Read more here.

Darien’s Public Works department recently canceled the spring bulk pickup program and offers online dump permit services. Read more here.

Though other towns have canceled their Memorial Day parades, Darien’s committee has not yet made a final decision. Read more here. Regardless of their decision, Darien’s Memorial Day section will go on. Share any ideas or armed forces submissions to editor@darientimes.com. If you wish to place an ad in the special section, email charles.howe@hearstmediact.com.

The Darien Chamber of Commerce is offering a special coronavirus update section on town businesses. Visit the section here.

One Darien High grad spoke about her challenges working in a grocery store in an opinion piece exclusive to The Darien Times. Read it here.

GoFundMe campaigns have been established for employees of the Sugar Bowl and Neat. Read more here. A GoFundMe has also been created for the bartenders of Chéz Ernie’s. Read more here.

Remember to shop local — now more than ever.

Giving back

Corbin Cares was launched as a combined effort of several Darien non-profits and businesses to donate meals to medical front lines, seniors and food insecure families in Darien. Total meals delivered in its fourth week numbered 1,117, with a total meals to date of 4,431. Read more about Corbin Cares here.

The Community Fund of Darien continues to seek donations for their Touch-a-Life emergency fund — that helps those in critical situations. Some examples provided are a single mother who works as a hairdresser in Stamford that is now closed, a single parent who works for a restaurant that is closed, a cleaning person for a building that is closed, and families with children who rely on the schools for lunches. Darien Human Services is also working with this fund. Donate here. Please indicate if your donation is for Darien Human Services.

Darien Human Services is seeking to remind the town they are still there for the community. They also suggest residents donate gift cards from local retailers. Read more here.

Please call the office at 203-656-7328 or email Ali Ramsteck at aramsteck@darienct.gov.

Person-to-Person is now offering home delivery to those unable to shop for their own groceries. More here. Food and monetary donations are also needed. Find out more here: https://p2phelps.org/donate/

Seniors also have specific shopping hours and resources. If you need meals, reach out to Darien Human Services above. Read more about senior resources here. Some seniors still are finding ways to connect. Read more about that here.

Resources:

Murphy Medical Associationscoronatestct.com

Town of Dariendarienct.gov

Center for Disease Controlcdc.gov/coronavirus

State health departmentportal.ct.gov/DPH

Keep up with town meetings on Darien TV 79’s Vimeo channel here.