Marpe: Stay Safe; Keep Your Distance; Leash Your Dog; Contractor And Tax News

First Selectman Jim Marpe says:

Yesterday’s tragic announcement that Westport had its first COVID-19 death is a reminder to us all that we must stay disciplined and continue to do all that we can to slow the spread of this virus. Your actions and diligence will encourage others to comply.

Self-isolation and virus distancing ensures your own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of your neighbors, your community and beyond. I am confident and proud that together, Westport will lead the way in flattening the curve.

I want to emphasize the concept that “you are not stuck in your homes; you are safe in your homes.” If you must go to a store, if at all possible, only have a single family member enter the establishment.

Under the governor’s recent executive order, store occupancy will be capped at 50% of its local fire code capacity. Staff will maintain a count of the number of customers entering and exiting the building.

Trader Joe’s enforces the social distance rules — with its own, very recognizable font.

If you go out in your neighborhood to exercise or walk, follow all the distancing precautions. And if you walk your dog, it must be on a leash. All of these efforts will help minimize exposure to the virus in public spaces.

I know that the majority of Westport residents are self-isolating and virus distancing, but it is apparent that some continue to gather unnecessarily in public parks and facilities. In order to be completely successful in flattening the curve, these non-compliance issues must be addressed. This week, people continued to use our closed public facilities, such as athletic fields and courts and other recreational areas, without the requisite social distancing, and many dogs were off- leash.

Parks and Recreation Department staff, school security staff and the Westport Police Department will now monitor these facilities to ensure compliance including the requirement that dogs must be on leash in all public areas. Parents, please impress upon your children that these precautions are absolutely necessary for their protection and the protection of those around them.

The selectman’s office and other town staff are receiving valid questions and suggestions. They are being taken seriously; we hear your concerns and are working to manage and provide timely, accurate answers through these daily press releases.

One of those concerns relates to contractor and landscape work. Because it is spring, landscapers and other contractors are working in our neighborhoods. The governor has deemed these services as essential and as a result, they are allowed to be performed.

Springtime in Westport.

Regardless, all workers should maintain the 6-foot distance. As a customer, if you are uncomfortable with the manner in which work is being done on your private property, you should request a change or that the contractor cease work.

Another question that is being raised is the potential for municipal tax relief.  Connecticut municipalities are unable to make tax policy without the approval of the State. Late this week, in part through our efforts, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7S, which includes directives that may provide relief for the municipal taxes that are due to be paid to Westport in April 2020.

The governor’s proposal includes 2 potential alternatives, but there are a number of details yet to be issued by his office. As soon as the additional details become available, we will prepare a Westport tax relief proposal. Per the governor’s executive order, such a proposal must then be voted on by the Representative Town Meeting. We will endeavor to act as quickly as possible once we receive further directions.

Finally, I appreciate how many of you have responded to our requests, remained in your homes and minimized social interaction.  I also want to express my sincere gratitude to those who have sent words of encouragement or have shown acts of kindness to Town employees and first responders, as well as healthcare and essential workers. They are working on the front lines to protect us, inform us, and keep us secure. Your efforts have brightened our days during these very stressful times.

This weekend be smart, be safe and as much as possible, please stay at home.

5 responses to “Marpe: Stay Safe; Keep Your Distance; Leash Your Dog; Contractor And Tax News

  1. John Richers

    I hit Stop ‘n Shop at 6:30am this morning.

    The paper aisle was completely bare, so, despite a quantity limit imposed, people must still be hoarding T.P. Fortunately I didn’t need any, but it was disappointing to see that people must be hoarding.

    To wit: Last week I observed a couple checking out separately, each with their own maximum amount of T.P. and paper towels; Complying to the letter of the law, but certainly disregarding the spirit of the rule.

    The store has placed one-way arrows on the floor (in blue tape) at the front and back of each aisle, indicating a suggested one-way flow of customers to avoid frequent passing in close proximity. It was rather humorous to note how many people either didn’t pick up on the suggested created by the arrows, or maybe, more ominously, they didn’t care. In any event, I endeavored, in as lighthearted and friendly a manner as possible, to point out the suggested traffic flow indicated by the blue arrows. Despite my wearing a bandanna over my nose and mouth (unfortunately concealing the smile with which I approached the other shoppers) most folks reacted with both grace and gratitude, which was nice. There are good people out there, even if there might be pockets of greed selfmixed in.

    Let’s all think of others as we think of ourselves out there! There’s enough for everybody if everybody takes just enough!

  2. Arline Gertzoff

    The I was happy to see the administration realizes leaf blowers and landscapers need to be dealt with by the people who employee them.If one has an issue call the company you work with and state your concerns and/or talk to your neighbors Of course one can control it better by doing it yourself or get out a good old fashioned rake and haul the bags to the brush dumpWe have time ordinances though enforcement isn’t always easy.Not keep a yard clean will lead to bugs and mosquitoes We have time ordinances for these activities though it is not always easy to enforce
    Let’s keep things reasonable for all

  3. Alan Phillips

    Dan hope you are well

    It would be nice to ask our drivers that with all the walkers and biker trying to maintain social distancing they :

    1) stop.. do not roll or blow through stop signs

    2) SLOW DOWN

    3) Have patience.. Bikers have to move to the yellow lines to social distance from walkers. Please wait.. do not blow by them using the other lane unless you clearly have a great site line.

  4. Stacie Waldman

    I’d like to add a couple of things:
    1. We have been shopping for several families impacted by COVID-19. Please remember that it’s easy to be judgmental, (I do it all the time!) but our community was very hard hit by the coronavirus and we all know how hard it is to get a food delivery. We were very self-conscious about the amount of food in each of our grocery carts and definitely got nasty looks from people. We looked like the worst kind of hoarders. Felt like we needed a laminated sign around our necks saying :”Hi! For our safety and yours, (and because they feel like crap), we are shopping for our COVID+ friends.:”
    2. It would be so helpful if the walkers could walk AGAINST traffic and the bikers could bike WITH traffic!

  5. Werner Liepolt

    It’s hard to imagine how leaf blowing on the scale the local landscapers do it is deemed essential during the COVID-19 Respiratory Influenza Pandemic! Fumes, flying particles, dust, rodent droppings add immeasurably to the hazardous situation. And then there’s the constant noise.