Coronavirus in Darien: Update on April 3
On Thursday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont added on to his executive order in response to COVID-19. Here are the recent additions:
-Prohibition on non-essential lodging at hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts and short-term residential rentals.
-Permission for food establishments and liquor manufacturers to deliver liquor and allows additional manufacturers to sell liquor for pick-up and delivery.
-Suspension of notarization requirement related to Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program.
-Provides the commission of early childhood education with the authority to implement a financial package to compensate emergency child care and stabilize the child care field to support providers through the emergency response.
-Suspension of rehearing rights for temporary rate increase for certain health care providers.
-Alternative to affidavits in relation to orders of protection and relief.
The Trump administration is expected to begin advising Americans to wear a cloth mask or other face covering while in public in the near future, according to the Washington Post.
As of Friday morning, there were 1,030,628 worldwide cases of the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Latest restrictions require retail and grocery stores to limit capacity to half of their legal occupancy, and must take measures to keep customers apart and enforce social distancing. That includes restricting aisles to one-way where possible, maximizing space in checkout lines and high-traffic areas, and using plexiglass shields to separate employees from customers at checkout lines, “where practicable.”
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson has provided updates of Connecticut numbers on a daily basis. For April 2 (increases from previous day in parentheses) there were 18,300 (+1,700) tests performed, 3,824 (+267) cases, 827 (+61) hospitalizations, 112 (+27) deaths in Connecticut.
There were 77 cases in Darien, up four from Wednesday.
In March, Gov. Ned Lamont waived a rule — to ease the burden of passing municipal budgets — by eliminating a requirement that the public vote to approve the annual budget in the roughly two-thirds of municipalities that do so. Earlier than that, he had extended budget deadlines by 30 days for municipalities.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said that because Darien’s budget and mill rate are set by a vote of the Representative Town Meeting, not a town-wide referendum, it is a bit more complicated.
“We are still waiting for guidance on towns with RTM’s. As of this am, the issue had not been resolved so we are moving forward to plan for how to have the RTM “meet” to enable the Board of Finance (Budget Making Authority) to approve the budget as required under Governor Lamont’s EO 7I, Section 13,” Stevenson said Thursday.
Stevenson said on Wednesday, Lamont issued guidance on tax deferral and a low interest rate program for “eligible” business, non-profit and resident taxpayers.
“There will be further guidance issued by the Office of Policy and Management regarding which taxpayers would be considered ‘eligible,’ We are having our attorney review. From my reading, it looks like we must offer one or both of these programs with RTM approval no later than 4/25,” She said.
Closed to vehicles
The parking lots of Darien’s beaches and parks will be closed to vehicular traffic as per as of sundown, Monday, March 30, per a Sunday evening update from First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.
No parking will be allowed on on access roads around our parks and beaches and Darien police will be strictly enforcing these parking laws.
“Our town and surrounding communities are experiencing a surge in positive COVID-19 cases,” she said last Sunday.
Town Hall remains closed to walk-in traffic. On Wednesday, the Parks & Recreation Department announced that the 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.
A social media announcement from Town Hall said “If we continue to see groups using the closed playgrounds or people gathering in large groups, we have to close all parks.”
Darien’s Public Works department recently canceled the spring bulk pickup program and offers online dump permit services. Read more here.
Restaurants continue to be closed to in-restaurant dining. Town Hall recently updated the list of restaurants offering delivery, take out, and curbside pickup. Read it here. Gov. Ned Lamont recently closed all “non-essential” businesses. Read the executive order here. Here’s a full list of essential businesses.
Many of Darien’s small retail businesses have adapted their procedures to accomodate clients amid social distancing policies. Read more here.
GoFundMe campaigns have been established for employees of the Sugar Bowl and Neat. Read more here.
Testing in Darien continues on Mondays at Darien High School from 1 to 4 p.m. Those being tested need to have an appointment and be referred by a doctor. The town and Murphy Medical Associates are hoping to increase testing at Darien High School pending more supplies. On Monday, March 30, 46 people were tested in Darien. The previous Monday, March 23, the first test set up, 50 appointments had been made, but only 22 were tested. There was a snowstorm, which may have impacted those scheduled to show up.
Darien school nurses have volunteered to help. Read more here.
Bridgeport Hospital - Ahlbin Center garage, 226 Mill Hill Ave., Bridgeport, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Lawrence & Memorial Hospital - Parking lot A of the hospital, 365 Montauk Ave., New London, Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., weekend times to be determined.
Yale New Haven Hospital - 150 Sargent Drive, New Haven, Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Greenwich Hospital - located on hospital property in the lower level physician parking lot off of Lake Avenue (hospital address is 5 Perryridge Road). Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
If residents or providers have any questions, please call the Covid-19 Call Center at 203-ASKYNHH.
Locals have taken to celebrating children’s birthdays with drive by, safe distance parades. Watch a video of a birthday parade for seven-year-old Lala Doherty here.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson issued an executive order to relax Darien’s plastic bag ban ordinance during the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday. Palmer’s Market has announced they will not allow to use resuable bags and Stevenson has given them permission to do so. Read more about bags here.
Schools remain closed in Darien and the rest of the state and eLearning continues. Gov. Lamont recently ordered schools closed through April 20. Darien’s Board of Ed recently approved the graduation date of June 11, which will likely be the last day of school.
For the duration of the coronavirus shutdown, school districts will continue to receive state funding and must continue to pay school staff they directly employ.
The board also approved to add spring break back to the calendar to give days back to the year. Read more about that recent vote here.
Those in need
Corbin Cares launched last weekend 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. Read more 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.
The Depot’s Helping Hands Club is seeking financial donations to buy supplies for the Darien Human Services household closet. Read more here.
Darien Human Services is also seeking volunteers to deliver groceries to homebound seniors in cooperation with Palmer’s. Those interested in helping should contact Marcy Rand of Darien Senior Programming at Mrand@darienct.gov.
Please call the office at 203-656-7328 or email Ali Ramsteck email@example.com to discuss your business.
Person-to-Person seeks donations for those in need and seeks volunteers. Virtually volunteer here. Volunteers are Needed at their Locations in Norwalk, Darien, and Stamford Email Juri Garone to get involved. 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.