COVID-19 Roundup: Business Advice; Stop & Shop Special Hours For Seniors; Restaurant, Parks & Rec News

State Senator Will Haskell says:

Many families in our area are struggling with the economic repercussions of temporary unemployment. Person-to-Person (P2P) serves residents of Fairfield County who are affected by the outbreak. No proof of income is required for those who are seeking food assistance.

Free shelf-stable groceries including produce, protein and dairy are available to employees furloughed due to COVID-19 and residents with incomes below 235 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Call 203-655-0048 to make an appointment. Locations in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford supply food to the public with varying hours.

P2P is also supplying emergency financial assistance for those who need help with rent, security deposits, utilities and small emergency expenses. Call 203-655-0048 for more information.

If you’re not struggling to put food on the table, consider helping others by donating food, toiletries, paper goods, diapers or gift cards. These supplies can be dropped off at 1864 Post Road in Darien or 76 South Main Street in Norwalk from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and after hours by appointment. For more details, call 203-621-0703.

Finally, you can donate to a virtual food drive at Person-to-Person can purchase more than $3 worth of food with every dollar donated.

Unemployment and Layoffs
Unfortunately, an increasing number of businesses will be laying off staff and reducing hours. The financial repercussions of this health crisis could be tremendous. The Connecticut Department of Labor asks that you follow these steps if you are a worker or business owner who needs to file for unemployment:

If you are a worker: Visit to file for unemployment as soon as possible. It is important to file as soon as you become unemployed. If you need help completing your application, email

If you contract COVID-19 and need to take time off work or are fired, you may file for unemployment benefits. You may also file for unemployment benefits if you are required to self-quarantine, your employer closes during this outbreak or a family member becomes ill. The outcome will depend on a case-by-case basis.

If your employer only permits you to work part-time instead of full-time or you work multiple jobs and your full-time employer closes, you may be eligible for partial unemployment.

If your employer retaliates against you for filing unemployment, you may file a complaint under the Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act.

The Department of Labor is also suspending federal work search programs requiring unemployment recipients to meet one-on-one for assistance and is suspending work search requirements for unemployment benefits. Furloughed employees are eligible for at least six weeks of benefits.

If you are an employer: If one of your employees is sick with COVID-19, you can require them to stay home, though you should issue them an Unemployment Separation Package.

If you must close your business due to illness or quarantine, direct your employees to

The Department of Labor offers a SharedWork program for employers seeing business slow down. This is an alternative to a layoff, allowing employers to reduce full-time employees’ wages by up to 60 percent while workers collect partial unemployment. All employers with at least two full-time or permanent part-time employees can participate. A reduction of work must be between 10 and 60 percent of activities.

More details, including information about paid sick leave, wages and hours, and family medical leave, can be found at this link.

Small Businesses
Small businesses are the cornerstone of Connecticut’s economy, employing roughly 700,00 residents. That’s why Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development announced that the 800 small business owners who owe loan payments to the state’s Small Business Express program can defer payment for three months.

Yesterday Governor Lamont submitted a request to the U.S. Small Business Administration, asking the federal agency to issue a declaration that will enable Connecticut’s small business owners to receive economic injury disaster loans. Once these loans become available, I will spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Starting Thursday, Stop & Shop will offer seniors-only shopping from 6 a.m. to 7:30. Only customers 60 and over — the most vulnerable group for acquiring the virus — will be allowed in the store then.

The decision was made, the chain says, to “practice effective social distancing.”

In addition, starting today, all Stop & Shop stores will now close at 8 p.m. That will give employees more time to unload inventory and stock shelves.

(Hat tip: Paula Lacy)

Nathaniel Brogadir of is offering local restaurant owners no fees for 30 days. Owners should email for details.

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department has closed its office until further notice.

All programs and program registration is postponed indefinitely.

Beach emblem sales are postponed until April 1. They can be ordered online then. If assistance is needed, call 203-341-5090.

Westport’s Parks & Rec Department in Longshore is closed until further notice. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)


31 responses to “COVID-19 Roundup: Business Advice; Stop & Shop Special Hours For Seniors; Restaurant, Parks & Rec News

  1. Yvonne Ferris

    Is there any relief for business owners with no employees who have become unemployed?

  2. Joyce Hergenhan

    Big Deal … Stop and Shop will open solely for older residents between 6 and 7:30 a.m. I am in that age group. Neither I, nor any of my contemporaries, are awake and prepared to go shopping at that hour. This “benefit” is totally useless for every older resident that I know.

    • Absolutely! I can barely move that early.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      It’s probably when they can assure that the store will be the cleanest and best stocked. Clearly nothing about this situation is ideal, but we all have to make adjustments to our lives for the greater good right now.
      Hopefully you are able to find someone who can do your shopping for you, if this isn’t something you’ll be able to do safely.

    • Gee, I’m sorry that you may have to change your schedule. Perhaps we could have you call with a time that you can deal with so they can empty the store of other customers and allow you to visit at your leisure.

      • Joyce Hergenhan

        Your sarcasm is not funny. I was not suggesting they set aside an unrealistic time later in the day. I was simply pointing out this “gift” is less than meets the eye. I don’t know a single person in her late 70s/early 80s who is going to show up there at 6 a.m.

      • John Hartwell

        This is really snarky and totally unnecessary.

    • It is the safest time to go. If this is airborne and can stay alive in the air for three hours, that lets things settle down overnight.

    • Harry Smiley

      Well with not much to do during the day get up a little earlier.

    • so, get up earlier, Joyce…..things are not as they were and neither will your daily life be.

  3. Bill Boyd..SHS 66

    Thank you Dan! Fabulous reporting as always!!!

  4. Thank You so much Dan for gathering so much helpful information and web links. I’m one of those who is wide awake at Dawn since I hit my sixties! So that “Seniors Only” Stop & Shop shopping will be ideal! Meh, different strokes for different folks…

  5. Thanks, Bill and RB. I depend on readers to send important info. Keep it comin’!

  6. Kimberly Reichert

    Thank you to Stop and Shop for being thoughtful and considerate about allowing Seniors to shop for groceries without being surrounded by crowds! It is gratifying to see a large chain store look out for its customers.

  7. Helen Ranholm

    I think stop and shop is doing a real service for the seniors. I for one thank them for being so thoughtful and I will be one of many seniors who will use this special time to get what I need. They are showing their regard for their customers.

  8. WoW! How lucky are we to have both Will Haskell & Dan Woog in our town tirelessly working in our best interests. Talking about unsung hero’s, thank you both (and not to exclude Shop&Shop & as well as all the other businesses offering to do what they can) How Lucky are we in Westport, working together through this nightmare. They talk about trickle-down effects in government, Westport ought to be the trickle-up effect example.

    • Thanks, Mark. I can’t speak for Will, but I’m sure he agrees: We are very lucky to live here, and be surrounded by wonderful, helpful people. We are all in this together.

  9. joshua stein

    I didnt know Stop and Shop was closing early tonight. We have been trying to shop late at night to avoid contact. I made it in minutes before they closed (one door was locked and one door was wide open on the other side). Shelves were shockingly bare. Over the past weeks we’ve seen pallets positioned and people restocking. Tonight, no pallets, no one really re-stocking. I dont know if they were keeping them in the back or the truck had not arrived yet but it was a bit concerning for what we might see in the AM.

  10. It’s a new world now and if getting out of bed an hour or or so early to buy groceries when, perhaps, it’s a bit safer, it’s something that should be done. For this I say that Stop & Shop is a “sung” hero.

  11. Marilyn Smith

    Thank you

    Sent from my iPhone


  12. Larry Weisman

    Early morning hours for seniors at Stop & Shop seems problematic to me. Even if we were awake at that hour, It doesn’t seem prudent for those of us who are over 60 and particularly vulnerable to congregate unless, of course, it’s a millennials’ plot to get rid of us.

    • Bob Stalling

      You may be onto something…

      • Wendy Cusick

        Conspiracy theorists….

        For some reason, tin foil hats come to mind….
        And no, I’m not a milliennal, far from it

        • Wendy Cusick

          By the way, I’m just joking.
          Don’t take what I said seriously. Forgot to write that disclaimer 😁😎