Beth Schaefer leads off with some great news!
She owns Westport Yarns. Her shop is considered “non-essential” — though everyone could do with some soothing knitting these days — and she’s completely shut down. Not even curbside pickup.
Yesterday, her landlords — Edward and Joan Hyde — suspended her rent for April. They did the same for her shopping center neighbors Body Quest and Party Hardy.
If conditions don’t improve, the Hydes will consider doing the same for Beth in May.
“This could make all the difference whether I can survive or not,” Beth says gratefully. “It’s not a guarantee, but it puts me in a much better place.”
The Hydes are not Westport’s biggest or wealthiest landlords. Plenty of Westport commercial real estate is owned by large corporations.
But Edward and Joan Hyde made that first generous, community-minded gesture. Will others do the same, to help other businesses survive?
When they do, let me know. I’ll give them the shout-out they deserve.
First it was the New York Times. Then Fox News. Now CNN has reported on Westport’s state-leading 79 coronavirus cases.
The story mentions the now-infamous party that may have contributed to the spread of the disease. But it also includes cautionary quotes from Yale New Haven Health System’s chief quality officer Dr. Steven Choi — a Westport resident.
“There was no social irresponsibility with the party,” he says. “It could have been any party.”
The spread is now “past the point of contact tracing,” State Senator Will Haskell — a Staples High School graduate — adds. “The most productive thing people could do right now is not point fingers, but stay at home as much as possible.”
For the full story, click here.
Everyone loves healthcare professionals, and pets. But who can care for the latter, when the former is at work?
Town House for Dogs and Cats, that’s who. Owner Sandy Goldman offers free “daycare” for healthcare workers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-227-3276.
In related pet news, Westport-based Connecticut Humane Society is hosting a Zoom webinar tomorrow (Thursday, March 26, 3 p.m.).
It’s a PetTalk (the animal version of a TedTalk) about busting pet boredom. Participants will learn how to keep pets’ minds and bodies active. Click here to sign up.
The Humane Society adds, “thankfully everyone here is doing fine. Most pets have been moved to foster homes. Our Fox Memorial Clinic in Newington is seeing veterinary emergencies by appointment.”
In addition to being a frequent “06880” commenter, Rich Stein runs a catering business. He writes now about the sudden, complete end of work for all caterers and private chefs. No more galas or gallery openings; no more private parties. Justlikethat, they’re gone. (As is business for the vendors — including local farmers and markets — they buy from.)
Rich says that he and other caterers — he mentions Dash of Salt, AMG Catering, Along Came Carol, along with his own What’s on the Menu Event Services — have posted very tasty menus on their websites and social media, for anyone who wants meals prepared and delivered (and frozen). They are always scrupulous about cleanliness and health.
Remember: Easter and Passover are coming. You may not have your traditional gathering — but you’ll still want to eat well.
Speaking of food, Brian Lewis is doing all he can to help his dedicated restaurant staff.
All takeout orders at OKO support a new meal train for the employees who are temporarily out of work. He’s providing full dinners for them and their families, twice a week.
“Every dollar from takeout orders that members of the community are so graciously placing supports this meal train,” Brian says. “Each dollar also helps me keep 9 people employed. and our doors open.”
Brian also plans to help feed first responders, and medical workers.
Speaking even more of food, Stew Leonard Jr. was on Fox News yesterday, talking about his family’s business.
Panic buying seems over, he says. They’ve adjusted to spikes, like selling 40,000 cans of tuna fish a week, up from the usual 10,000.
He also noted changes, like eliminating loose bagel bins and (aaargh!) all those free samples.
Oh, yeah: Stew’s is paying employees an extra $2 an hour now.
Click here for the full interview.
The Nature Conservancy has closed Devil’s Den. A “dramatic increase” in visitors — combined with their lack of social distancing, and “not heeding the town of Weston’s request to refrain from parking on roads which can block emergency access for our neighbors” — sparked the decision.
Bridgeport Rescue Mission offers food, shelter, clothing, addiction recovery services and education to a desperate population in Bridgeport — and does it 24/7/365, with no city, state or federal funding. A number of Westporters are deeply involved in the Mission’s work.
COVID-19 hits the low income, homeless and mentally ill populations hard. Meanwhile, both food donations and financial support is down. Packaged food or wellness kits with hand sanitizer, tissues, soap and cough drops can be dropped off at 1069 Connecticut Avenue, Bridgeport (Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Click here to donate online, or mail to: BRM, PO Box 9057, Bridgeport, CT 06601.
Beechwood — Frederic Chiu and Jeanine Esposito’s innovative, immersive arts salon series — offers intimate, personal encounters with music, paintings, sculpture, dance, the written word and more.
It’s the opposite of social distancing.
But you can’t keep Beechwood down.
From 6 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday in April, they’ll provide an hour of art, music, performances and special guests. And they’ll do it while connecting communities around the globe. Audiences don’t just tune in; they’ll interact too.
Each Wednesday has a theme. There are live performances, special guests, and excerpts from amazing performances over the past 9 years of salons.
And finally, a few wise words from Bill Withers: