Tag Archives: Westport Downtown Merchants Association

Roundup: Outdoor Dining And Fitness; Downtown Flowers and Barber; More


Last night, the Planning & Zoning Commission took steps to hear 2 COVID-related text amendments. Both respond to the changing business environment in town, and will be voted on July 23.

One amendment would extend temporary outdoor dining permits through the end of March 2021. Commissioners spoke of their desire to support local restaurants during an uncertain time, and reassure owners that investments they make for outdoor dining will be worthwhile beyond summer.

The second proposed text amendment would extend similar restaurant flexibility to fitness studios and gyms hoping to temporarily locate equipment outdoors. This applies to facilities like JoyRide, nearly all of which are locally owned.

Drafts of both text amendments will be posted Monday for review by the public. Comments may be emailed (pandzcomments@westportct.gov). To request a Zoom link to participate with “in-person” testimony at the July 23 meeting, email maryyoung@westportct.gov.

Romanacci’s Xpress is one of 3 Railroad Place restaurants with outdoor dining.


The pots and flower barrels lining Main Street, and hanging from poles throughout downtown, look gorgeous.

But they don’t water themselves.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association needs volunteers. Watering takes about an hour a day. To learn more about the sign-up system — and how to choose your time — email events1@westportdma.com.

Main Street planters


Speaking of downtown: There will be one less barber next month.

Ron Provenzano — owner of the shop named for himself at 190 Main Street, in the old Sally’s Place space — is closing around August 7. He, his wife and their children are moving to Wilmington, North Carolina.

It’s not COVID-related, he says. His wife’s business is booming, and she loves that area.

Ron has been in his present shop, above Le Rouge Aaartisan Chocolates, for 6 years. That follows more than a dozen on Railroad Place.

With the closing the other day of Compo Barbers, 2 old-school men’s hair cutters are gone. Westporters will miss them both.

Ron Provenzano


Scott Smith writes:

“In all my years enjoying Old Mill Beach and Compo Beach (this social-distanced season, more than ever), I’ve never seen such a large boat working the waters so close to shore.

“I took photos from near the jetty at Soundview Avenue as this sturdy boat churned in a tight loop up and back, just off the far rocks at Compo Cove. No nets or traps; near as I can tell, it looked like it was sluicing a mound of dirt-like material piled amidships over the gunwales with a water jet.

“After an hour or so, the big black boat was off, headed for deep water and turning west.

“Anybody know if the boat was indeed offloading material into the Sound, and if so, where it came from and what it is?” If you have a clue, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Scott Smith)


Westport Library Book Sale donations are back!

Beginning next week, materials will be accepted every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, during any hours the library is open.

Donors should come to the gray brick shed in the upper parking lot. Donations will be quarantined there for 3 days, before being handled by sale volunteers.

You can bring used books, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, vintage magazines and other ephemera. Please: no water-damaged or mildewed materials, VHS tapes, audiocassettes, or self-recorded CDs and DVDs.  For more information, click here.

New book sale volunteers are always welcome. Help is needed all year to sort, research and price donated materials; provide merchandising and customer support at book sale events, and supervise and train employees with disabilities.  To learn more, email  info@westportbooksales.org


As noted in yesterday’s Roundup, MoCA Westport’s Helmut Lang exhibition is now open. There’s plenty of room to enjoy the show — just be like these visitors, and wear a mask!


And finally … yesterday’s “06880” story on the Paycheck Protection Program noted the 137 Westport businesses that got loans of at least $150,000, helping them meet payrolls and keep folks employed.

Another Paycheck — Johnny — had a different view of work. Back in 1977, he sang:

Roundup: Kids’ Mural; Harvey Brooks’ Book; Playhouse Video; More


Ever since youngsters in Homes with Hope’s after-school program turned Hal and Betsy Kravitz’s 77-foot-long South Compo wall into a “hopeful” mural, it’s earned honks and thumbs-ups from passing drivers, bicyclists and walkers.

It also caught the eye of a producer for WABC-TV news.

Which is why — barring breaking news — they’ll run a story on it tomorrow (Sunday, July 5) on the 11 p.m. news.

Channel 7 may include some footage from the video below. Stay tuned!


Harvey Brooks has played with and for Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, Stephen Stills, John Sebastian, Seals & Crofts, Boz Scaggs, Judy Collins, Loudon Wainright III, Phoebe Snow, Phil Ochs, the Fabulous Rhinestones and Fontella Bass.

The bassist laid down some of the most famous lines in music history, including “Like a Rolling Stone” and the hook on the Doors’ “Touch Me.” He’s featured on Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew,” the best-selling jazz album of all time.

And for many years Harvey Brooks lived on North Compo Road, right here in Westport.

A few years ago he and his wife Bonnie Behar moved to Israel. But a good story is universal.

Today — which is also his birthday  — his memoir, “View From the Bottom: 50 Years of Bass Playing with Bob Dylan, the Doors, Miles Davis and Everybody Else,” was published. There are tons of musical anecdotes — and lots about his life in Westport too. To order, click here.

Congratulations, Harvey. And Happy Birthday too!


This summer would have marked the Westport Country Playhouse’s 90th season.

The coronavirus brought down the curtain on this year. But the theater — one of the country’s most historic — is not letting the anniversary go unnoticed.

They posed one question to WCP aficionados: “What does the Playhouse mean to you?”

Click below, for some very heartfelt responses.


Happy Birthday, America!

And huge props to the Westport Downtown Merchants Association. They made sure our Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge is decorated appropriately — with, red, white and blue lights.

The photo below does not do it justice. Go see for yourself (after dark!).

 


Hugh Downs died Wednesday. He was 99.

The Westport connection? Scott Williams says that decades ago, the longtime TV newsmagazine and entertainment show host rented 121 Sturges Highway house Scott later grew up in.

Hugh Downs, on the “Today” set in 1966. (Photo/Jack Kanthal for Associated Press)


You’ve heard it everywhere. Don’t have a cow. Just wear your mask!

(Photo/Les Dinkin)


And finally … to celebrate America’s birthday, here’s the song that’s been called “our other national anthem.” It’s easier to sing — and the words sure are powerful.

Westport Marketplace: The Town At Your Fingertips

What’s open? What’s closed? What’s different? What’s going on?

Everyone wants to know. Now we can.

A herculean collaboration between Our Town Crier, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Town of Westport has resulted in a comprehensive, almost-beyond-comprehension website covering every conceivable business, service and organization here.

Welcome to the Westport Marketplace.

Screenshot from Westport Marketplace

The “Virtual Yellow Pages” directory is filled with links and up-to-date information for just about every business and service in Westport. There’s contact information, operating hours,, safety precautions and more.

Users can search by name, relevance, distance, even popularity.

Major categories unfold with dozens of sub-categories.

Besides retail, restaurants, automotives, realty, markets and pharmacies, there are sections on home services (landscaping, builders, interior design, organizers …), medical (acupuncture, specialists, therapists …), banks (accounting, financial advisors, tax help …), personal services (hair, dry cleaners, physical therapy, tanning …), children’s services (sports and music lessons …) and more.

The project could not have happened without 72 interns, says Our Town Crier founder Betsy Pollak.

“The first group drove around town, literally going to each doorstep. They hand-surveyed the entire town. The next group got it onto the website, and took care of social media.”

The Chamber helped keep the restaurant list accurate. The WDMA did the same with retail. Selectwomen Jennifer Tooker and Melissa Kane funneled new information to Pollak and her crew. Local artist/super-volunteer Miggs Burroughs created the Westport Marketplace logo.

“We have incredible young people in Westport. I feel like I should be working for them,” she says.

This is the site we’ve all been waiting for. And need.

Click here to access (and bookmark) the Westport Marketplace. Then go to town!

(Questions? Email info@thewestportmarketplace.com. To update or add a business, or offer feedback, click here.)

Roundup: History Museum Stays Closed; MoCA Reopens; Main Street; More


Cultural institutions are reopening around Connecticut. However, the Westport Museum for History and Culture will remain closed.

Executive director Ramin Ganeshram says it’s not because they want to. Instead, she wrote in an email to members, “we have to.”

One reason: the “antique building with small rooms and an aged HVAC system” lacks the air filtration or cross-ventilation needed to host more than 1 or 2 visitor at a time.

In addition, a “major structural failure in the center of the building that was left unaddressed for many years and exacerbated by aspects of the way the building was used” will take “a lot of time and a lot of financial resources to ultimately fix.”

However, Ganeshram said, the COVID closure has allowed staff to “fix both the structural failure and work to save collections and archives that had not been properly assessed, catalogued or preserved for many decades.”


MoCA Westport is reopening. The big day is Wednesday (July 8).

In anticipation, they’ve released a short film showcasing the current exhibition: “Helmut Lang: 41.1595° N, 73.3882° W.”

The video from Douglas Tirola and 4th Row Films offers a first-person experience of walking through the exhibition, and provides background on Lang’s inspiration for the works. Click below to see.


Last night was gorgeous. The temperature was just right. It was Friday — the start of the weekend.

It was the perfect night for a picnic, meeting friends, or sunset watching at Compo Beach. It hardly mattered that there are no grills or picnic tables, and the concession stand is closed.

Nearly everyone heeded the social distancing signs. Many wore masks. And nearly everyone seemed grateful to be outdoors, with other people, again.

(Photo/Dan Woog)


The Main Street planters are all in place. The Westport Downtown Merchants Association project was created to provide more room for shoppers.

This was the scene yesterday morning. Come on down — there’s plenty of space!


Speaking of flowers: This week’s Westport Garden Club #Friday Flowers decorations are at Nevada Hitchcock Park *the corner of Cross Highway and Weston Road).

Two great factoids: The park honors Hitchcock, a founding member of the club. And the flowers — from the gardens of Andi Turner, Janice Yost and Topsy Siderowf — are pollinators. This is National Pollinator Week.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)


Meanwhile, the Pop’TArt gallery downtown had a low-key opening last night for its new “Scheherezade: The Shapes of Stories” sculpture exhibition. It will be up for the next month.

It’s outdoors — to the delight of at least one young, budding art lover.


When COVID forced shutdowns and program closures, STAR went to work.

For the past 68 years, the organization has provided services and support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.

During the pandemic. STAR’s 45-minute Zoom classes kept clients and their loved ones connected and involved.

Westport participants have included Yvonne O’Kane, who taught cupcake decorating; artist Miggs Burroughs, State Senator Will Haskell, and Wakeman Town Farm. There’s been live music too, along with virtual dance parties.

Kudos to STAR, for this innovative, important programming — and to all who help make it work. Click here for more information.


And finally … Happy jUNe Day!

Main Street Makeover

If you haven’t been to Main Street in a while — since, say, yesterday — you’ll find quite a transformation.

To enhance social distancing, parking has been eliminated through August on the one-way stretch between Pop’TArt Gallery and Vineyard Vines.

And to enhance its beauty, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association (and 8 volunteers) planted 36 planters in those former parking spots.

There’s more room to walk around. It looks a lot better when you do. And the DMA is coordinating volunteers to make sure the new additions (and the other plantings on poles) will be watered all summer.

PS: There is plenty of parking available. And now it’s all unrestricted. No time limits — no worries!

The planting project was coordinated and led by Jacqui Bidgood and Deborah Herbertson.

Roundup: Downtown Parking; Irma Schachter’s Honor; More


There’s no time like now to shop downtown.

And — starting Wednesday, June 17 — there’s no time limit either.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association and town officials have agreed to lift time restrictions on all legal, public parking spaces, through August 21. The goal is to encourage shopping, dining and browsing.

Specifically, curbside on Main Street (from Elm Street to Avery Place), and the  Parker Harding, Baldwin, Sigrid Schultz, Bay Street, Taylor Place, Jesup Green, Jesup Road and upper library lots will have no time limits. In other words: no tickets!

Beginning June 22nd, there will be no curbside parking on Main Street from the Post Road to Elm Street. That’s to allow shoppers more room, and enable social spaciousness.

While you’re there, enjoy beautiful new street planters too.


Irma Schachter — a longtime Westport resident, and a 1945 graduate of the Northfield School for Girls (now Northfield Mt. Hermon) — was honored recently with the school’s Lamplighter Award. The highest honor given by the Alumni Association, it is awarded for service to the school far beyond the call of day.

This month is Irma’s 75th reunion year for NMH. She has held numerous volunteer roles, including reunion chair, class agent and gift chair (her current role, since 2000).

In 2005, for her 60th reunion, Irma achieved 100% participation from the class for their reunion gift. No class has since matched that.

After graduating from Connecticut College for Women, and graduate courses in management training at Harvard Radcliffe, she worked for department stores like G. Fox, Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor.

“I love Northfield,” the proud Lamplighter says.

Irma Schachter and her husband Joe.\


And finally … at the end of another long week …

Roundup: July 4th House Decorating Contest; #FridayFlowers; More


There will be no 4th of July fireworks this year. But you can still show your patriotism — and win tickets to the 2021 show.

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department and Westport PAL — the sponsors of what is usually our town’s biggest party — are collaborating on the first-ever “4th of July House Decorating Contest.”

They encourage residents to decorate the side of your house most visible from the street, showing off the themes of “patriotism” and “America.”

Click here to register, so your house can be judged (on July 2). There are 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes.

BONUS: The winning houses will be featured on “06880” too!

Showing the flag, on Hillspoint Road.


Surprise!

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association is honoring Staples High School’s graduating seniors with a special tribute: banners, flying high.

Every 12th grader’s name — all 443 — is on one of the 39 handsome, Staples-blue pennants. They were a surprise until yesterday. Now everyone can see them, on Main Street, Elm Street and Church Lane.

One more great reason to head downtown!

Nicole and Victoria Caiati, with “their” banner.


The Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers campaign brought them this week to St. Luke Church. There was special meaning for their volunteer efforts: The club’s monthly meetings — open to the public — are held in the church’s Community Room.


Westport Garden Club member Louise Demakis (left) with Sister Maureen in the garden at St. Luke Church. (Photo/ Kelle Ruden)


On Thursday, Aly Sivinski graduates from Staples High School. Since her first half-marathon 2 years ago, it was her dream to run in the New York City Marathon.

COVID-19 made that impossible this fall. But with time on her hands now, she decided to run her own half-marathon around here. She spent the past 8 weeks training, and will run her half on June 21.

Aly says, “Due to recent events in our society and the continued perpetuation of systemic racism, I have to decide to use my run to raise money for Black Lives Matter and the Connecticut Bail Fund.”

She hopes for either a flat donation of $13.10 (for the 13.1 miles), or a pledge of a any amount per mile. Click here to help.

Aly Sivinski


And finally … powerful, thought-provogking words from Depeche Mode:

COVID Roundup: ASF Helps Merchants; Half-Marathon; Sherwood Diner; Co-op Nursery School; More


The Westport Downtown Merchants Association and ASF are partnering to raise $10,000 for local businesses hit by COVID. They’re offering a unique Westport design, for hoodies, long-sleeve shirts, t-shirts and tank tops.

For each sale, $10 will be given to a WDMA-backed fund, and distributed ASAP.

But hurry — they’re only available through June 14!

Click here to order. (PS: They’ll ship anywhere!)


Ready for some exercise? Want to help frontline healthcare workers?

Thanks to Colby Kranz, you can do both.

The 2015 Staples High School graduate has designed a “Half Marathon from Home.” She posts a schedule that everyone follows, with playlists, daily tips and weekly motivational podcasts — but you choose the training routes (and final run, on July 25) that works best for you and your schedule.

Training has already begun, but anyone can jump in. When you do (click here), you’ve got the option to donate to NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 Relief efforts. The goal is $1,310 (because of the 13.1-mile final distance).

Colby — who has 6,000 Instagram followers, for her @livingpurely healthy recipe and lifestyle tips — says that dozens of people have already signed up for the half-marathon. They come from many different backgrounds. Some were training for a race that got canceled. Others have never run before.

All are welcome!

Colby Kranz is in national sales with iHeartMedia. During COVID, she’s working — and training — in Westport.


The latest restaurant to reopen — with new, socially distant outdoor tables — is the Sherwood Diner.

The menu is not as extensive as before. But the most popular items are all there. And 2 more umbrellas are coming soon.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)


It’s not their biggest graduation of their lives. But every June, the Westport-Weston Co-op Nursery School celebrates its pre-K classes moving on to kindergarten next year with a a picnic on the Unitarian Church lawn, and an end-of-year video. Parents, grandparents and siblings join in.

For the first time in the school’s 65-year history, graduation was upended by a pandemic.

The videos were made by the Co-op’s Staples High School interns, and emailed to families. And instead of a picnic, there was a “car parade.”

But each youngster got a goody bag. There were “Co-op Class of 2020” t-shirts. And there were enough smiles all around to (almost) forget that there was a somber reason behind the new-style ceremony.

(Photo/Stacey Konowitz)


On April 8, Governor Lamont ordered all flags in Connecticut to fly at half-staff, mourning all the lives lost to COVID-19.

On May 19, he directed them all to return to full-staff.

The Westport Post Office has not yet gotten the message. The American and POW flags continue at half-staff.

Someone should write them a letter …

And finally … sing it, Sly!

COVID Roundup: Main Street Planters; Protest Info; Library Dropoff And Delivery; More


As Westport reopens, the Downtown Merchants Association swings into action.

They’re getting a great response from volunteers eager to help plant and care for 16 barrel planters the WDMA is putting on Main Street. That’s the first of many enhancements, making the area welcoming and inviting.

The WDMA also produced and donated 1,000 bags for the library to use for their curbside book pickups. The bags feature a link to the new Westport Marketplace, where people can find out where to shop and how.

Main Street planters


Yesterday, both the Town of Westport and Westport Police Department Facebook pages featured an announcement about “Truth & Reconciliation: A Conversation About Race and Policing.”

Set for tomorrow (Friday, June 5, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), it’s co-sponsored by a number of organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut, Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

Click here to view.


In the wake of the death of George Floyd, a group of mostly young Westporters has organized another event.

A “Peaceful Against Police Brutality” is set for tomorrow (Friday, June 5, 1:30 p.m.) at the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen (Post Road) bridge in downtown Westport.

Organizers says masks and social distancing are required.


Westport Unitarian Church director of social justice David Vita was at Sunday’s “Unite Against Racism” rally on Jesup Green.

He compiled this powerful 15-minute video about the event, held in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death by a Minneapolis police officer.


Usually, the award of a big scholarship is a big deal. COVID-19 has forced even those ceremonies onto Zoom. But Karen Jacobs made Tuesday’s event a great one anyway.

Her husband died of cancer 10 years ago, at 45 years old. Since then the Chad A. Jacobs Memorial Foundation has provided over $300,000 in academic and athletic scholarships throughout the area.

This year they created a new award, called Seize the Day. Recipients Charlie and Will Capalbo received $10,000 each.

Charlie — a graduate of Fairfield Ludlowe High School — battled 2 separate cancers. His brother Will — like Charlie, a hockey player — donated bone marrow for a transplant. They are the grandsons of Westport writer Ina Chadwick.

Friends, colleagues, teammates and relatives of Chad Jacobs were on the Zoom call. So was the Capalbo family. Karen asked them to step outside, onto their front lawn.

There, she and her children — Staples graduates Taylor and Mac — presented Charlie and Will with a traditional over-sized check. This fall, Charlie will be a sophomore at Fairfield University; Will is a sophomore at Albertus Magnus.

The coronavirus can’t keep a great ceremony down!

The Capalbo family (rear), and the Jacobs family (in front, with over-sized checks).


Beginning June 15th, the Westport Library will offer curbside pickup service for materials placed on hold, and homebound delivery for eligible Westport residents.

To prepare, books and other borrowed materials can be returned to the Annex in the upper parking lot, beginning Monday (June 8).  The Library is waiving overdue fines and fees.


Westport’s National Charity League chapter is donating $7,300 to 4 organizations that support the food insecure: the Westport Department of Human Services, Homes With Hope food pantry, Mercy Learning Center and Person to Person.

Part of the funds came from members who opted to not take refunds when the chapter’s annual tea was canceled, due to the coronavirus. Click here for more information on the NCL’s Westport chapter.


MoCA Westport says: “We believe in the power of expression, in the voices for change and in caring for ourselves and for others. We believe that art has the power to reveal, inspire, and affect powerful change.

“We care deeply about the ongoing problem of unequal justice in our country, and stand in solidarity with the peaceful protest movements sweeping our nation and the world.

“In a display of solidarity and reflection, MoCA Westport will cease all virtual classes, concerts and posts this week.”


One more sign the local dining scene is returning (somewhat) to normal: The (socially distanced) scene last night at Bartaco:

(Photo/Sabra Gallo)


And finally … from Fairfield’s own John Mayer:

Retail Reopening: All The FAQs

Today was Day 1 of Phase 1: the first time since mid-March that Connecticut retailers could open for business.

But merchants can’t just fling open their doors, and customers can’t just race in.

By law, shoppers must wear masks inside stores. This is to protect themselves and employees. If customers do not wear masks, a store can be shut down.

Here — thanks to the Westport Downtown Merchants Association — is a Q-and-A about retail reopening.

Scroll to the end to find a list from the WDMA of stores they know are open today. Note: Some operate by personal appointment only. Check before you go — and wear your mask!


What do I do with items that are returned?
Assume returned items have been tried on. Quarantine them for 48 hours, or thoroughly steam clean prior to returning to the floor. Click here for very good specific cleaning/disinfecting information.

Can I allow customers to try on clothes and use fitting rooms?
Yes. Customers can now try on clothes. But any clothes tried on by a customer must either be quarantined for 48 hours or thoroughly steam cleaned prior to returning to the floor.
If a customer touches an item on the floor, do I need to pull it and put it in the back? If so, for how long?
There is no steadfast rule. The practice of having each customer sanitize their hands upon entering your store should help reduce the risks. Personal shopping appointments could also help, since associates would handle the items and they use hand sanitizer after each customer. Additionally, having associates handle merchandise would decrease the number of people touching each item, decreasing the potential transfer of germs.

Will UV light wands kill the virus? If so, can I return merchandise to the floor after using?
While UV light is effective and customary in clinical settings, there is currently no guidance for retailers to use UV for clearing at this point. We recommend waiting for specific governmental guidance before relying exclusively on this method of sterilization.
 PPE suppliers. 

Where can I get hand sanitizer,  gloves, wipes and cleaning supplies? 

Click here for PPE suppliers. Modern Plastics in Shelton can make dividers and face shields. Contact Susan Linnane at 203-403-6672 for information. You do not need to purchase from them; this is just another option provided.

If a customer comes in without a mask, what do I do? Do they have to wear a mask if it is a private appointment?
Customers must wear a mask. Stores should have a greeter to help the monitor capacity (no more than 50%). Greeters can also have the job of enforcing and/or reminding patrons of the face mask rule. Have a backup plan if a customer forgot their mask, such as offering the customer the ability to purchase a mask, a disposable mask, or curbside pickup instead. Remember: This is your store. You have the right to remind them of the rules, and politely refuse service.
Agree with your business owner what language best suits the situation. In grocery stores the precedent for wearing masks and gloves has been widely accepted. We anticipate that people entering other types of stores will be generally compliant.

Am I required to install plexiglass at registers?
The guide says to rearrange workstations to maintain 6 feet distance between customers. and to limit movement of employees within the facility. Install physical barriers for checkout where possible. Assign employees to workstations where they remain through the workday. If you can’t keep employees more than 6 feet apart, then plexiglass also needs to be set up between employees at the cash registers.

Am I required to place markers on my floor?
You must install visual distancing markers to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart. For instance, markers should be placed outside the store for a waiting area, inside the store near the register, as lines by the restroom and in any other area where waiting is anticipated.

What does it mean exactly to “clean” my store? What is “deep cleaning,” how is it defined and how do I instruct my cleaning personnel?

Click here and here.

 What can happen if I don’t comply with these regulations?

According to the state Department of Economic Community Development, if the first infraction is not serious you would probably get a warning. However, flagrant and continued violations have the potential to be misdemeanors. Local law enforcement will have guidelines, and executive orders can result in misdemeanors or criminal charges.

Local health inspectors will also have authority to assess health risks of stores in non-compliance, and they can revoke licenses and shut businesses. They want compliance on these issues. This is not for the stores that are trying to do the right things, but the state wants a mechanism that shows the importance of these rules. The government does not want to get this wrong and have to close again, isolate again and start all over.

Can we wear the plastic face shields instead of face masks?
No. The covering must completely cover the face and nose area.

What happens if, through contact tracing, someone who was in my store tests positive for COVID?
While not an absolute requirement, it is a good idea to figure out a way to keep track of customers shopping in your store. That way, if a customer were to test positive, you would be able to take precautions to clean your store, and monitor yourself and your employees for symptoms of the virus.

Am I allowed to take temperatures before I allow customers and / or employees in my store?
It is a good idea to take the temperatures of employees before they start work each day. You cannot legally require or force employees to have their temperatures taken, but experience in stores already open show that many employees are receptive to having their temperatures taken as they want to protect their own health and safety.

While it can be a reliable screening tool, realize that it is not 100% effective at weeding out sick employees, since many COVID carriers can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

You may also request that customers allow you to take their temperatures before entering your store. Again, legally you cannot require customers to allow you to take their temperatures, but you can strongly suggest it as part of what you want customers to do before entering your store.

How can I get a thermometer?
The State of CT has a limited number of FREE thermometers available to Connecticut businesses with 100 employees or less. They urge you to request yours ASAP, as supply is limited. Click here.

 Can I sign my customer’s initials on their credit card receipt so I don’t have to deal with them signing and touching my pens?
It is not illegal for you to do this, but with no proof of a sale, a customer could argue later they did not make the purchase. A better option may be to change the setting on the credit card reader to not require a signature for any transaction. A consistent policy may be a better option.
What happens if someone in my store gets sick or feels sick?

    • Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, and remaining employees should self-monitor for symptoms.
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.
    • Identify and notify those who may have had contact with the employee — including colleagues, customers, visitors, and vendors — during the 14 days prior to testing positive or first displaying symptoms.
    • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in your facility, following CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

How does my store get self-certified, and how do I get the certificate showing I met the state requirements

    • Use this link to go to the Self-Certify Your Business Page. After successfully completing the self-certification requirement survey, you will be able to print out PDFs with your certificates, and other other signs you may hang to show consumers your compliance with Connecticut state requirements.
    • The State is providing a 211 number for citizens concerned about businesses not following protocols. It’s best to follow the rules.
  • What could I be missing as I think about reopening?
    • Check out the “Operation Open Doors – Checklist” from the National Retail Federation. It has a lot of information you may not have thought about yet including supply chain issues, managing employees and detailed lists of what and how to clean.
  • The state said retailers should get expedited approval from local governments to enable permits for shopping outside. How do I do that? 

Westport officials have said that you may bring a table outside to use as a sales area. You do not need additional permitting, but you may not block sidewalks and you must make sure there remains a safe 6-foot clearance area for passing pedestrians. We recommend you may want to use the outdoor areas for showing items to customers, offering pre-purchased item pick up, and offering other services that will help limit store capacity and indoor activities.

  • What are the 211 requirements?
    • The requirement is to have a sign saying: “Call *211 with any employee and/or consumer complaint about non-compliance with state regulations. The call goes to the state Department of Economic &Community Development.
  • Who can I call locally for enforcement issues?
    • Call the Westport Police non-emergency number: 203-341-6000.
  • How do I limit my liability from customers and employees who might contract COVID-19 at my store?
    • The best thing you can do is keep detailed records of what you are doing to comply with all of the regulations. There is not an exemption from lawsuits by executive order, but hopefully in the next month our government will pass regulations protecting those that have followed the guidelines. That is why it is imperative to keep accurate and up to date records of what and how you have done your best to remain in compliance with the regulations. Additionally, the Department of Economic and Community Development has said that it recognizes that compliance in all areas all the time will be very difficult, but showing you made significant effort is all that can be expected.
  • There will be so many masks and gloves thrown away. Can we recycle them?
    • No. The DECD says that the masks and gloves worn by consumers are potentially contaminated and should not be recycled, but rather disposed of safely.
  • Will Main Street be closed to traffic?
    • The ReOpen Westport Advisory Team and Westport DMA are drafting a procedure for closing several local streets at different times. It will be presented to local officials. Local government has committed to helping make this happen soon.
  • What are Connecticut state sign requirements?
    • Social distancing protocols
    • Cleaning and disinfection protocols
    • Personal protection protocols (face masks, gloves) for customers and employees
    • Employee shall stay home if sick/experience symptoms
    • Customers shall not enter if they are experiencing symptoms.
  • Links to posters that may be helpful to hang at your store:

 

 

  • Will Main Street be one-way or alternate day openings so there is more room for customers?
    • The Re-Open Westport Advisory Committee and Town officials will be considering this option.

 

  • Will there be a good place for employee parking so there is more parking for customers and they have more room?The ReOpen Westport Advisory Team and town officials will consider this option.

 

  • I still have questions or a very specific question. Who can I contact?
  • For specific questions related to small business, email the Joint Information Center at COVID19.JIC@ct.gov, or call the DECD small business hotline at 860-500-2333.

 

ADVICE TO PATRONS

General Health Guidance:

  • If you feel at all unwell or have been exposed to a person who is sick or quarantining pending a test result, please do not go out in public to our retail community.
  • Compliance with this primary consideration protects other customers and the workers who are restarting our economy and making it possible for all of us to enjoy shopping again.
  • Remember: it’s not only you that you are protecting. By following the guidelines, you help protect our elderly citizens, those with existing health conditions and other individuals that shop after you.

 

  PPE – Wear it. It’s the law!   

  • Always wear face masks or coverings over nose and mouth as you shop – either disposable or freshly laundered fabric masks/coverings. This is a legal requirement for entering retail stores.
  • Stores will have hand sanitizer available to patrons at entry. Be prepared to use it each time you enter a store. Using disposable gloves is also an option, but you will still need to use sanitizer to change gloves at each store to avoid contamination.
  • Expect store door greeters to monitor your mask and hand sanitizing as well as  limit the number of patrons in stores to 50% capacity at any given time.

 

Be Prepared When You Shop:

Whenever possible, preview your needs online first so you know what you are seeking. You can call the store and ask to have the items put aside for you. Knowing SKUs, style names, colors and sizes can help speed the process considerably.

Limit your touching to items you are most likely to purchase. By limiting the number of items touched by each individual, we decrease potential contamination and also help our retailers decrease their cleaning needs and limit the inventory they need to remove from their shelves.

Enjoy shopping again, and embrace initial restrictions. If we embrace these restrictions and enable a safe and healthy reopening of businesses in Phase 1, we can expect to see more businesses reopen.

Don’t expect to browse and socialize when you shop initially. Limit the time you spend in a store. Less time in a store means lower risk of contamination to you, to employees, and to the items in the store.

Shopping – A New Experience:

Be patient and be kind. Retailers and employees are working hard to help you. Everyone is trying to adjust and adapt to this new world. Helping each other and supporting each other right now is very important. Understand that things may be slower or more difficult, but know that it is being done for everyone’s protection.

Refer to Westport Marketplace frequently (launching soon) for the latest information on the status of retailers, restaurants, salons, and more.

While stores are allowed to open May 2, many stores will choose to only continue to offer curbside pick up for prepaid items in the near term. This is okay too. Don’t forget to continue supporting the retailers you love that are not physically open yet, but have continued to find a way to get you their products.

·Stores that choose to operate in-store shopping will be following state issued rules. Expect social distancing and wear PPE.

Stores have had to certify with the state that they will follow rules in order to be open. If you are uncomfortable following the protocols, you may continue to shop online, through curbside pick up or by other shopping services.

If you feel a store is intentionally not following re-opening rules (not a mishap or a situation caused by another shopper), express your concerns by calling 211.

More changes will come. Please be flexible and understanding, and be prepared to make more adjustments. For instance, the state government may allow stores to set up outside tables to enable shopping and payments.

Be aware that retailers may change their return policies because of COVID-19 safety issues and the stringent return protocols. Know the rules before you buy.

GENERAL REOPENING INFORMATION

Where can I find the latest State rules for reopening?

https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus

COVID-19 Resources

Where can I find details on protocols for high risk areas. Bathrooms, elevators, stairwells, common spaces, etc.?

This has very detailed instructions for cleaning many facilities and areas considered to be high risk. Many resources are outlined toward the bottom of the page.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

Where can I get advice on the layout of my office spaces, choice of furniture and screens etc.?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html

If I want to test my employees for antibodies, can the town provide?

The town does not provide antibody testing, but there are a number of testing sites available and some may provide antibody testing also. Testing sites can be found at the following link: http://wwhd.org/coivd-19-testing-sites/

Is my landlord responsible for the new standards of cleanliness for my building, stairwells, elevators, bathrooms etc? What constructive actions can I take if they fail to meet this responsibility?

The landlord, tenants, and citizens are all in this together. Landlord and tenant responsibilities are typically spelled out in individual leases. COVID19 does not change that relationship. Landlords are expected to meet any new cleanliness standards for the areas they are responsible for to re-open their buildings. Failure to comply could result in closure of the building.


The following stores are open as of today. Some may be by appointment only. Call ahead!

  • Albe Furs
  • Anthropologie
  • ASF
  • Bungalo
  • Catherine H
  • Choice Pet
  • Cotelac
  • Compo Flowers
  • Earth Animal
  • Faye Kim
  • Fleet Feet
  • Great Stuff
  • Kerri Rosenthal
  • Le Rouge Chocolates
  • Lillian August
  • Mitchells
  • Nic+Zoe
  • Noya
  • Organachs Farm to Skin
  • Plumed Serpent
  • Pottery Barn
  • Sam Sloat Coins
  • Savannah Bee
  • She La La
  • Silver Ribbon
  • Soleil Toile
  • Southern Tide
  • Splash of Pink
  • Swoon
  • Terrain
  • The Fred Shop
  • West
  • Westport Yarns