1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:
This has been a good week in Westport. The rate of growth for confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to slow, and across the state the number of hospitalizations continues to fall.
The RTM passed the town and school budgets for fiscal year 2021, resulting in an overall increase of less than half of a percent. The town’s AAA rating from Moody’s has been reaffirmed. We are also pleased to announce that the town’s tax collections this fiscal year are on target and have not been significantly impacted by the virus. As a reminder, you have until May 22 to apply for a COVID-19 related tax deferment on your April installment payment.
The state is working toward reopening much of the private sector. Later today, we expect new guidance from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which will cover aspects of reopening salons, barbershops, restaurants, offices and other businesses.
Westport will largely follow the state’s reopening strategy, as communicated by Governor Lamont. We have launched the ReOpen Westport Advisory Team, which held its first public meeting on Wednesday. Liaisons were named for each local business segment, and are actively reaching out to business owners.
The team is pleased to have Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Westport resident and former FDA commissioner, share his perspectives on reopening at the Monday, May 11 meeting (11 a.m.). Westport’s state legislative delegation will also attend, to update the team on the state’s plan. You can watch this meeting via live streaming on our website, or Cablevision channel 79.
A week from today we will open the parking facilities at Compo Beach at 50% capacity, and the Longshore golf course will be open for play (with certain restrictions). This is an opportunity to get out of the house, enjoy the warmer weather, and perhaps get some physical activity. But remember the importance of maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet at all times, and you must bring or wear a mask if you anticipate difficulties achieving that.
In the coming week we will announce the specific rules and regulations related to the beach opening. We encourage you to follow them, and remind you that everyone in town is relying on your compliance. Social distancing and wearing masks is imperative if we are to keep the beaches and golf course open.
Public health experts have determined that wearing a cloth face covering may prevent transmission by an infected person. The use of appropriate personal protective equipment in public places is of critical interest to all of us. If you are in a public place and cannot maintain a safe social distance of at least 6 feet, then you must cover your nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face covering. The best advice is to have a mask available at all times if you are outside of your home, and most certainly when you are at our beaches and parks. I keep mine around my neck when I step outside so it’s ready to go if necessary.
The town of Westport has procured 25,000 face masks, with the help of the Grace Farms Foundation in New Canaan. We plan to distribute them to the general public Tuesday morning. Further details will follow on Monday.
Please continue to stay connected with the town as the COVID-19 response and reopening evolves. For updates, please check the town website or the ReOpening site.
I want to wish all of you a great Mother’s Day weekend. Don’t forget: You’re not stuck at home; you’re safe at home.
Excellent communication, Jim!
Please folks, listen to the Selectman and bring your masks with you to the beach, just in case.
The virus can stay in the air for two hours after you have walked through a given space (and 3 hours in humid air conditions), and can be spread by sea wind.
About 40% of the virus transmission is being done by people who do not even know they are infected or symptomatic. So wearing face masks to the beach during May will help deter the spread.
Always go out in public with –at a minimum– your masks in your pocket– throughout May, so you can put them on in case of need. ~~ Kris Hamlin, RTM #4
Dan – good morning and thank you so much for being a conduit for information about COVID 19 and our community.
We are in Naples Florida for the moment and our beaches opened last weekend – and CLOSED today because of a complete disregard for social distancing and safe behaviour.
We rushed to get it done under some pressure from residents but without limits or restrictions so we now have a lot of East coast Florida folk here as their beaches are closed as well as a re-influx of residents who have returned from their northern, more restrictive states. Time will tell if we have a spike of infections here in a city that so far has been spared being a hot spot.
Please let this be a cautionary tale for those that think they can just throw open Westport’s beaches and parks without enforcement of social distancing and not have consequences .