Marpe’s COVID Update: Regulations Eased, But Vigilance Needed

1st Selectman Jim Marpe issued this COVID update:

As of last Friday, the percentage of Westporters receiving at least the first COVID-19 vaccination dose is:

  • Age 65+: 93%
  • Ages 45-64: 83%
  • Ages 15-44: 50%

These vaccination statistics are encouraging. It is recommended that all residents who have not received the vaccine do so as soon as possible. Click here to find a provider near you, and book an appointment. To register for an appointment via telephone, call 877-918-2224.

Given the success of Connecticut’s vaccine rollout, Governor Lamont recently announced significant easing of COVID restrictions.

  • Effective May 1, all restaurants will be allowed to remain open until midnight.  Beverage-only service outdoors will be permissible, and the 8-person limit on outdoor dining will be lifted.
  • Effective May 19, all remaining gathering restrictions will be lifted;  however, masks will continue to be required in all indoor public settings where social distancing is not possible.

Westport municipal buildings remain open to the public by appointment.  Residents are encouraged to continue accessing town services online. Members of the public may also schedule appointments for in-person meetings or other services that require additional assistance.

Residents can make appointments for Town Hall business. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Governor Lamont’s declaration for remote public meetings remains in effect through May 20. Town officials are monitoring changes to the declaration, and legislation that might allow in-person “hybrid meetings” (with both in-person and remote participation). In the meantime, public meetings will continue to be conducted via Zoom.

Planning continues for opening or expanding town amenities and activities:

  • The Senior Center and Toquet Hall are planning for possible outdoor and limited indoor programming in late spring or early summer.
  • As of May 1, parking emblems will be required on all vehicles to enter Compo and Old Mill Beach parking lots, and on May 29 for Burying Hill Beach. Parking emblem purchases must be made online at www.westportrecreation.com. Daily parking for non-residents will be allowed this summer at Compo Beach and Burying Hill Beach. Visit www.westportrecreation.com for daily parking rates.
  • The Parks & Recreation Department and Selectman’s Office continue to plan for a Memorial Day parade. July 4th fireworks are still under consideration, pending further guidance from the state.

Bill Vornkahl looks forward to a 2021 Memorial Day parade. (Photo/Carmine Picarello)

  • The Parks and Recreation Department is preparing to open its facilities, and plans to offer programs not available last summer due to COVID.
  • Longshore golf course is open for play, as are several tennis locations. The Compo Beach pickleball courts, skatepark facility, platform tennis, Compo basketball courts and playgrounds are open as well.
  • The Board of Selectmen approved the closure of Church Lane, for expanded outdoor dining.
  • The Levitt Pavilion is planning its season, to be held in compliance with COVID considerations related to outdoor venues.
  • Today, Progressive Diagnostics opened a same-day public testing site at the Saugatuck railroad station parking loto adjacent to Exit 17 on Saugatuck Avenue. Services are available weekdays (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Saturdays (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Plans for townwide reopening and a “return to normal” are encouraging, but we should be cautiously optimistic. According to the state Department of Public Health, 122 municipalities out of 169 (including Westport) remain in the highest COVID alert level (red). This is cause for concern, though more recent daily statistics indicate a downward curve in the spread.

It is also important to understand that being vaccinated does not prevent individuals from being COVID positive and transmitting the virus. Ccontinue to remain informed, and balance COVID safety with personal priorities for physical and mental well-being. This includes being empathetic to those around you, and the individual choices they make.

I encourage those who are vaccinated to be respectful of those who are not, or have differing opinions about the current guidelines and status of the pandemic. Westport town officials will continue to follow and employ science experts’ advice and guidance, so that all in our community will be safe and healthy.

Despite rising vaccination rates, masks continue to be important.

4 responses to “Marpe’s COVID Update: Regulations Eased, But Vigilance Needed

  1. Stephen Axthelm

    Awesome mask Dan!

  2. Ok, so everything is opening.
    But Town Hall will have an electric fence around it until further notice.
    I think I’m beginning to understand.

  3. Yeah, I agree, Morley Boyd. I had a good laugh at this: “I encourage those who are vaccinated to be respectful of those who are not, or have differing opinions about the current guidelines and status of the pandemic.”

    I get it if people don’t want to be vaccinated; I spent years researching our country’s approach to inoculation when my child got sick. But the “or” part of that sentence is hilarious. “No need to follow guidelines [what about staying masked if you’re not vaccinated?] if you have ‘differing opinions,’ and public health authorities might be lying about how bad it is.” But Town Hall will remain closed.

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