COVID-19 Update May 19: Businesses Re-Opening Q’s: Can Police Enforce Social Distancing? Have Restaurants Forgotten to Re-Apply?

file photo of Marly's Bistro outside patio–before COVID-19

On Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont issued Executive Order 7PP that clarifies his guidance for the Phase 1 of reopening that begins today, extending previous orders for things like safe store operation, limiting people seated at one table to five, and alcohol service in restaurants. It also covers “enforcement of sector rules,” with a section that addresses “violations of the [business] sector rules as public nuisances.”

The order also includes a public declaration that “state police and municipal police may enforce violations of orders issued pursuant to a civil preparedness or public health emergency…”

Some news media have reported this as a blanket permission enabling local municipal police to enforce all social distancing orders–including the wearing of masks in public and the limits on how many people can gather.

The order also empowers the local/municipal public health official to enforce certain rules in the businesses and restaurants that are re-opening under Phase 1, with the ability to close those locations that do not adhere to the re-opening guidelines.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice addressed this at Tuesday evening’s Board of Selectmen meeting and in her nightly update, noting that she’s reviewing the enforcement order with town counsel Ira Bloom to determine exactly what that means. She told GOOD Morning Wilton that she’ll have further comment later Wednesday.

Vanderslice did write in her update that as of late Tuesday night, “no Wilton restaurant has submitted or completed the necessary application to receive the necessary permit” to reopen with outside dining. “All restaurants, even those with existing outside dining permits, are required to obtain the new permit. Land Use Director and Town Planner Michael Wrinn and other Town personnel have been reaching out to the restaurants and businesses to assist and expedite the necessary permits and approvals.”

Several restaurants, including Bianco Rosso, Craft 14, Marly’s and Cactus Rose, among others, confirmed their plans to be open for outside table service as of Wednesday evening, May 20.

Wrinn told GMW that any restaurants planning to reopen need to complete an application and go through the new permit procedure, which requires both his Zoning Department approval as well as approval of Wilton’s Health Department (and potentially approval from the Building Department and the Fire Marshal as well).

“It’s a totally different procedure. The only way you can have outdoor dining is going through this temporary process. If you read what the executive orders were, this is it. Everyone needs to show that they have social distancing and the proper protocols so we can operate safely,” Wrinn explained.

While there is no fee for the new temporary permit application, establishments still do need to demonstrate that certain regulations and codes are being adhered to, including for accessibility, pedestrian clearances, parking, social distance spacing, emergency vehicle access, etc. In addition, if tents are being used, they must be inspected by the building department and the fire marshal.

Lamont Directs Flags to Return to Full-Staff on Tuesday Evening

Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday directed U.S. and state flags in Connecticut to return to full-staff at sunset on Tuesday evening. Flags have been flying at half-staff in recognition and mourning of all those who have lost their lives and been affected by COVID-19.

Lamont Releases Guidance for Re-Opening of Dentist Offices

Earlier this week Lamont also released the guidance document for dentist offices that planned on resuming normal operations. The document was developed through a collaborative working group organized by his administration and provides best practices for dentist offices that are considering expanding their operations beyond emergency care.

Among the areas covered are the arrangement of the physical space of offices, disinfecting and cleaning procedures, health screenings of patients and employees, and work practice controls (scheduling, tele-dentistry, equipment use, etc.) and Personal Protective Equipment, among other topics.

During the pandemic, dentist offices have been considered an essential business by the Lamont administration and were never ordered to close; however following a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental offices were strongly advised to temporarily limit their practices to urgent and emergency dental care. As several other sectors of the economy begin preparations to reopen on May 20, some dental practices in the state indicated their intention to resume elective services on that date, and dental hygienists and assistants contacted the Lamont administration asking for more guidance.

To help address those concerns, Governor Lamont directed leadership at the Connecticut Department of Public Health to convene a working group of dental professionals representing dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dentists. The group recently met through video conferencing over a five-day period and reached a consensus on the final guidance document.

By the Numbers (May 19)
  • Total Wilton cases (as of May 18):  200 (+0)
  • Total Wilton fatalities (as of May 18):  37 (+0)
  • Number of Wilton residents tested (as of May 18):  718
  • New one-day positive cases in CT residents:  314
    • May 18:  697
    • May 17:  716
    • May 16:  618
  • Total CT cases:   38,430
  • COVID-19 tests reported:  185,520 (+7,841)
    • May 18:  177,679 (+7,072)
    • May 17:  170,607 (+5,852)
    • May 16:  164,755 (+8,847)
  • Total People currently hospitalized:   914 (-6)
  • Total Fairfield County Hospitalizations:  287 (0)
  • Total Fairfield County cases:   14,522 (+86)
    • May 18:  14,436 (+188)
    • May 17:  14,248 (+108)
    • May 16:   14,140  (+131)
  • Total CT fatalities due to complications from COVID-19:   3,472 (+23)
    • May 18:  3,449 (+41)
    • May 17:  3,408 (+69)
    • May 16:   3,339  (+54)
  • Total Fairfield County Deaths:  1,160 (+7)
    • May 18:  1,153 (+7)
    • May 17:  1,146 (+21)
    • May 16:  1,125 (+16)

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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Are there any statistics AT ALL about the Wilton cases? They have to be keeping track of ages and perhaps locations (The Greens/Meadows/etc.) Or do they NOT want to give that information? And if they don’t that’s unacceptable. It’s not a privacy issue, it’s not wanting to provide the information we all know to be true.

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