COVID-19 Update May 13: Plastic Bags to Stay Tax-Free a Little Bit More–But 5-Person Social Limit Stays Too

Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order on Wednesday, May 13, that continues the suspension of the 10-cent single-use plastic bag tax, extending it to at least June 30. It originally had been waived in March and was set to expire Friday.

The bag tax waiver was one of several moves Lamont made at the beginning of the state’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. The tax was lifted in the belief that reusable bags might contribute to surface transmission of the virus.

“During the height of things we didn’t want all that touch going on,” Lamont said during his daily media briefing.

Another order–limiting social and recreational gatherings to five people–remains in place as well. While it wasn’t a topic addressed at the governor’s briefing, it was something that First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice addressed in her nighly update. She wrote that she has received multiple questions from residents about the limit.

“Is there any news about increasing the 5-person limit on gathering?  No. Today, questions were asked about different types of gatherings, including school gatherings and athletic team practices. Each response was the same, no more than 5 people can congregate,” she explained.

With the state’s announcement that guidelines will soon be issued for summer camps, Vanderslice noted that Parks and Recreation staff are working on plans for this summer but cannot definitively proceed until the state provides guidance. She addressed limits that will likely be imposed on summer programs:

“Preliminary guidelines include that each campsite is limited to 30 campers, with each group not to exceed 10, assuming appropriate social distancing for 10 campers. The department can apply to add another 20 to 30 campers.”

The Office of Early Childhood in Hartford is expected to issue more complete guidance next week. In the meantime, the Parks & Rec department plans to email a survey to residents to gauge the demand for summer camp.

Vanderslice also provided information on communication with the Department of Labor.

“No one picks up the phone at the Department of Labor (DOL).  How can I get help?  The DOL Commissioner acknowledged that they have been overwhelmed with calls and do not currently have the staff to handle the call volume.  They are in the process of bringing on more personnel.  In the meantime, it was advised that residents should call their State Senator or Representative as they each have a liaison within the DOL. Your State Senator is Will Haskell. Your State Representative is either Gail Lavielle or Tom O’Dea, though both will assist any Wilton resident.”

She answered a question about unemployment benefits for self-employed, 1099 or gig workers.

“How do I apply for the “PUA” unemployment benefits if I am self-employed, a 1099 or GiG worker?  You must first apply for regular unemployment benefits. Click on the blue button on this page. After you are denied, click on the red button on the same page. This will take you to a page with instructions and information, including online assistance. This is a different assistance center than for regular claims. Although this is a different system, the identifying information entered must be exactly the same as the information previously entered for the regular claim as the data is cross-referenced. Any discrepancy, will cause the claim to be rejected. You must indicate you are eligible to work unless there is a qualifying circumstance. Benefits will be provided retroactively, including the special $600 per week. You must check-in once per week to maintain your benefits.”

Vanderslice issued a correction on an earlier update:  “In Monday night’s update, I incorrectly shared that Warrior Helpers was a source for masks [for the public]. Any resident unable to secure a mask should contact Social Services Director Sarah Heath or Lt. Dave Hartman.

By the Numbers (May 13)
  • Total Wilton cases (as of May 13):  192 (+0 )
  • Total Wilton fatalities (as of May 13):  36  (+0)
  • New one-day positive cases in CT residents:  522
    • May 12:  568
    • May 11:  211
    • May 10:  570
    • May 9:  573
    • May 8:  627
  • Total CT cases:   34,855
  • COVID-19 tests reported:  142,943 (+4,122)
    • May 12:  138,424 (+5,916)
    • May 11:  132,508  (+2,316)
    • May 10:  130,192  (+6,623)
    • May 9:   123,569  (+3,028)
  • Total People currently hospitalized:  1,158 (-31)
    • May 12:  1,189 (-23)
    • May 11:  1,212 (-30)
    • May 10:  1,242 (-59)
    • May 9:  1,301 (-35)
    • May 8:  1,336 (-49)
    • May 7:  1,385 (-60)
    • May 6:  1,445 (-55)
    • May 5:  1,500 (+36)
    • May 4:  1,464  (-24)
    • May 3:  1,488 (-63)
    • May 2:  1,551  (-41)
    • May 1:  1,592  (-58)
    • April 30:  1,650  (-41)
    • April 29:  1,691  (-41)
    • April 28:  1,732 (-26)
    • April 27:  1,758  (-8)
    • April 26:  1,766  (-44)
    • April 25:  1,810 (-67)
    • April 24:  1,877 (-70)
    • April 23:  1,947 (-25)
  • Total Fairfield County Hospitalizations:   372 (-6)
    • May 12:  378 (-6)
    • May 11:  384 (-19)
    • May 10:  403 (-21)
    • May 9:  424 (-15)
    • May 8:  439 (-30)
    • May 7:  469  (-20)
    • May 6:  489 (-30)
    • May 5:  519 (+12)
    • May 4:  507  (-7)
    • May 3:  514 (-11)
    • May 2:  525  (-12)
    • May 1:  537  (-28)
    • April 30:  565  (-26)
    • April 29:  591  (-29)
    • April 28:  620  (-7)
    • April 27:  627  (-8)
    • April 26:  635  (-14)
    • April 25:  649  (-45)
    • April 24:  694  (-36)
    • April 23:  730  (-19)
  • Total Fairfield County cases:   13,636 (+148)
    • May 12:  13,488 (+176)
    • May 11:  13,312 (+76)
    • May 10:  13,236 (+206)
    • May 9:  13,030 (+151)
  • Total CT fatalities due to complications from COVID-19:   3,125 (+84)
    • May 12:  3,041 (+33)
    • May 11:  3,008 (+41)
    • May 10:  2,967 (+35)
    • May 9:  2,932 (+58)
  • Total Fairfield County Deaths:   1,068 (+22)
    • May 12:  1,046 (+12) 
    • May 11:  1,034 (+10)
    • May 10:  1,024 (+7)
    • May 9:   1,017 (+11)
    • May 8:  1,006 (+29)
    • May 7:  977  (+25)

It is important to note that these newly reported updates include data that occurred over the last several days to a week. All data in this report are preliminary, and data for previous dates will be updated as new reports are received and data errors are corrected.

Visit the state’s coronavirus webpage for several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups.

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