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5/18/20 - First Selectman Jim Marpe's COVID-19 Message and Update

Post Date:05/18/2020 5:30 PM

First Selectman Jim Marpe provided the following message and update today:

This weekend’s reopening plan for the Compo Beach and Soundview Parking Lots, as well as reopening of play at Longshore Golf Course with restrictions, was successful. In general, everyone was respectful, aware, and accommodating to the social distancing and having masks available when not able to maintain six-foot distances. I appreciate the efforts everyone made, including residents and Town staff, that helped insure a positive outcome.

There remains, however, some who are choosing not to adhere to the CDC recommendations. In order for us to be successful in our reopening efforts, we must self-monitor and request that everyone comply with the recommendations outlined for the general health and well-being of all. We are in uncharted territory, and gentle reminders to those around us are encouraged. Remember, whenever you leave your home, you are wearing a mask to protect your neighbors, and they are wearing one to protect you. Please have a mask readily available (around your neck, NOT in your pocket) and be prepared to carefully pull it up and over your mouth and nose at any time. Parents, please remind your children that the rules apply to them as well. Together, we can meet the challenges that face us all during these unprecedented times.

ReOpen Advisory Team:

The ReOpen Westport Advisory Team will hold a public meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 11:00 AM. It will be held electronically, live streamed on www.westportct.gov, and broadcast on Westport’s Optimum Government Access Channel 79 and Frontier Channel 6020.  Emails to the Advisory Team may be sent to reopenteam@westportct.gov.

For information on town services and facilities status reopening plans: www.westportct.gov/reopen

Restaurants Reopening:

 On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7MM, which primarily modifies state and local law to streamline the application and approval process for outdoor dining and outdoor display of retail goods. The Town of Westport will be streamlining and expediting the process for those applicants seeking approval for outdoor dining.  The application form and a detailed description of the rules will be made available on the town’s P&Z website this week (www.westportct.gov/pnz). 

These Applications will be approved by administratively with an expected response time within 10 days of the application receipt date.  The Planning & Zoning Commission has waived any requirements for a hearing on these applications to allow for an expedited reopening of outdoor dining in Westport

The ReOpen Westport Advisory Team is working with Westport retailers and the Selectman’s Office for administrative approvals on the use of town property for the outdoor display of retail goods.

Phase 1 Reopening Date Revised for Barbershops and Hair Salons

Hair salons and barbershops were initially included in Phase 1 of Connecticut’s reopen plan, which begins May 20. According to a release today, however, Governor Lamont said that after having extensive discussions with owners and employees of these businesses it is in everyone’s best interests to provide for some additional preparation time and also align the state with its regional partners.

Tax Relief Program REMINDER:

The tax relief program application for April’s tax payment is due this Friday, May 22.   The deadline for the July payment is July 1, 2020. www.westportct.gov/TaxRelief.

WWHD Update:

Executive Director of the Westport-Weston Health District Mark Cooper reports:

Phase 1 of reopening Connecticut businesses begins next week. The WWHD has been hard at work contributing to both state and town planning efforts, as well as training for the anticipated surge in testing and contact tracing. Wide-spread testing and contact tracing are key components of a successful and steady reopening process. The WWHD’s Community Health staff will be performing contact tracing for our local community. While some municipalities across Connecticut have opted to rely on the State Department of Public Health to do the tracing, the WWHD expects have the ability to manage the volume of calls in-house.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Westport and Weston, WWHD staff has been contact tracing infected individuals. We anticipate that the number of positive tests will increase with wide-spread testing, so capacity has been augmented accordingly. Staff will be joined in the efforts by the Westport Public School nurses who have generously volunteered to help our community with this important work. Additionally, Medical Reserve Corp volunteers, under the direction of Emergency Management Director, Mike Vincelli, have answered the call for assistance during this crisis. We are incredibly grateful for all of these amazing, knowledgeable volunteers.  Our volunteers have completed the necessary training modules and will be supervised by WWHD’s Director of Clinical Care, Dr. Louis D’Onofrio.  This team effort will enable the Health District to reach out to impacted individuals to educate them on safe practices, self-isolation measures, and to answer any questions. 

 Parks & Rec:

 Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Fava also announced today the anticipated opening of the Longshore Club Park and Staples High School tennis courts on May 27.  Play will be limited to singles play and will only be allowed on courts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 at Longshore and courts 2, 4, and 6 at Staples.  Additional restrictions will be in place and will be posted on the tennis page of the Parks and Recreation Department website www.westportrecreation.com.  Use of the Longshore tennis courts will require advanced reservations with payment by credit card only, no walk-ups will be permitted.

 The opening of the Longshore Pool complex is delayed until further notice, as is the staffing of lifeguards at Compo Beach and Burying Hill Beach, as the Town awaits further guidance from the State.

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