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5/13/20 - COVID-19 Update from First Selectman Jim Marpe

Post Date:05/13/2020 4:45 PM

Westport, CT – First Selectman Jim Marpe provided the following message and update today:

Yesterday, personnel from the Fire, Police and Human Services Departments distributed over 10,000 masks to Westport residents free of charge. Hundreds of cars came to the Bedford site where the occupants quickly and safely obtained masks, and moved along. Town staff was overwhelmed by the expressions of gratitude, and the positive response from community members.

Since the onset of this pandemic, we have not only had major concerns about our own health and livelihoods, but we have had to deal with the vulnerability of not having the essential items needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Now that the supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) have become more available, and we have access and recommendations in place, we must remember to use them.

Westport needs to remain vigilant. We must all maintain social distancing, not gather in groups greater than 5, practice diligent hand washing, and continue to be responsible by wearing a mask when patronizing a business or having a mask available when leaving our homes for whatever reason. Wearing a mask protects us, and protects those we may come in contact with. Wear it around your neck when not in use and be ready to pull it up and over your mouth and nose at any time. Remember your mask as if it were your cell phone!

Parents, please remind your children that the rules apply to them as well. Our youth need to stay connected, positive and productive. They need to know that they are not alone in this. We are counting on them to be smart and considerate as well.  Consider reminding them that it is not impersonal to cover their faces. Rather, it is a sign of respect for their families, friends and their community.

While some might not be personally fearful of COVID-19, many of our neighbors and family members are. Please maintain a sense of empathy and compassion for everyone and remember that our vulnerabilities and personal coping mechanisms vary.

Proper Ways to Put On and Remove PPE from the WWHD:

It is important to understand that unless masks are put on, worn and removed correctly, they may not provide the needed protection against COVID19. Improper use may result in a false sense of security.

One of the most common ways of becoming infected with COVID19 is touching the eyes, nose and/or mouth with contaminated hands; whether or not one is wearing gloves. Gloved hands can become contaminated with COVID19 just as easily as bare hands when touching any contaminated surface such as a shopping cart handle, cell phone, door knob or any other object touched by others.

It is important to remember that after wearing a mask, the outside surface should be considered contaminated. Improper adjusting, sliding to the side for a sip of coffee or removal can cause infection.  Once a mask is put on, it should be left alone until the time of removal, and then it should be removed properly.

The proper way to remove a mask is to grasp it by the ear loops or ties and carefully pull it away from your face without touching the outside surface. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and wash your hands immediately after removal. A cloth face covering should be washed in a regular washing machine and put into the dryer. Surgical or other masks if used lightly can be hung away from people and other objects for 72 hours and be reused.

Gloves likewise should be removed properly by grasping the outside of glove by the wrist trying not to touch any skin and pulling the glove away from the hand pulling it inside out while bunching it up into a ball. The glove will now be inside out with any COVID19 virus on the inside. Dispose gloves immediately after use and proper removal.

Finally, even when wearing face coverings and gloves, social distancing and diligent hand washing remain the most effective way to protect yourself and others from infection.

For a listing of test sites, go to

Update from the ReOpen Westport Advisory Team:

The ReOpen Westport Advisory Team is busy working with local business owners that are eligible under phase 1 of Connecticut's reopening plans to resume business on May 20.  A set of strict rules that prioritize the health and safety of employers, employees and customers have been issued by the State. The protocols were developed by Governor Lamont's office and the Department of Economic and Community Development in consultation with legislators and the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, which consists of several of the state’s leading medical experts and representatives of several business and industry groups.  The list of businesses and those rules are available at or through the direct links below: 

The ReOpen Westport Advisory Team was appointed to work closely with our local businesses to support them in their reopening efforts. Westport is currently following the State’s guidelines for both timing and operational rules for reopening businesses.  Each business owner will of course make their own decision on whether to reopen, and will do so in full compliance with the state's regulations.

Second Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker, Chair of the ReOpen Westport Advisory Team, stated, “Reopening the local economy will be gradual and deliberate, with the guidance of the State and health experts. The Team understands the importance of this work and the need to build confidence within the entire community. The health and safety of all is paramount as we reopen our businesses.”

An exclusive email has been established for the Advisory Team. General comments and questions may be submitted at any time to For information on town services and facilities status reopening plans: www.westportct/reopen


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