State officials in the tri-state area are taking extreme measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. On March 16, Governor Ned Lamont, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy held a joint press conference to address combined measures to prevent further contamination of high-risk populations. Social distancing has become the go-to recommendation for communities to reduce the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, this precaution alone is not enough.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, people are most likely to contract COVID-19 after touching contaminated areas such as tables, railings, door handles, or clothing. Studies have shown that different surfaces can host the virus for longer than others. COVID-19 can live on aerosols for up to three hours, copper for up to four hours, cardboard fo up to 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for two to three days.
Disinfecting procedures are found to be extremely helpful in killing the virus on surfaces. But with nearly 23 million residents living and traveling within the tri-state area, keeping up with these extreme sanitary measures can prove to be impossible.
To curve the spread of novel coronavirus, thousands of businesses, organizations, and institutions have made the difficult decision to temporarily close their doors to limit exposure. While some are still reaching out to consumers by means of pickup and drive-up services, others are taking the route of telecommunicating to continue necessary communication.
As we all continue to navigate through the many challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, our team is committed to keeping Connecticut residents updated and informed. Here is a compiled list of local closings to expect and what Connecticut residents can do to access services in the meantime.
Governor Lamont announced on March 15 that all public schools in Connecticut will be closed for a two week period in order to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus. State colleges have transitioned students to online instruction for the remainder of the school year. In addition, students are encouraged not to return to campus after the completion of spring break for better control of sanitization practices.
Sadly, school concerts, plays, sports activities, dances, non-essential events, after school clubs, and extracurricular activities are all subject to cancellation and postponement at this time. Because we still know little about this rapidly spreading virus, state health experts have deemed it in the best interest of all students and families to avoid large group activities and events at this time.
Some school districts predict to resume classes as of March 30. However, these dates are subject to change as circumstances continue to change. Students and parents are encouraged to check in with their district websites and officials frequently for updates. Click here for a full list of school closings and current statuses for each school district and university.
All schools should be issuing continuing education plans for their students to make sure they are not falling behind while schools remain closed. Thankfully, a number of educational institutions are also stepping up amid the COVID-19 pandemic to provide more access to learning resources for parents and students at home. Good Housekeeping has released the following list of educational apps and websites that are free, and some for a limited time:
- PBS Kids Daily Newsletter
- Khan Academy
- Club SciKidz
- Math Games
- Mystery Science
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
Children who rely on school days to get one or more nutritious meals can still access free meals through their district. For anyone who needs assistance, find the contact for your county school consultant here to find meal distribution locations and services.
Restaurants and Entertainment
All bars and restaurants will be open for takeout and delivery only until further notice. Movie theaters, gyms, and casinos are temporarily closed as of Monday.
More than 8,500 eating and drinking establishments have been affected by coronavirus-related closures. Executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, Scott Dolch, encourages residents to continue ordering food without fear to support local businesses during this trying time. Most of these businesses doubled down on cleaning products in preparation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among their customers. They are more than ready to safely serve customers via takeout, curbside, pickup, and delivery services.
It goes without saying that workers and businesses will be facing several challenges due to COVID-19 closings and restrictions. Employees will be struggling financially with the loss of wages and employment. Businesses will be struggling to stay afloat and to be profitable during the slump in business. For more information on what resources are available to workers and business owners, find more guidance and resources here.
Community Events and Services
Multiple community buildings and centers have announced closings and delayed services for the remainder of the month. Some of these include:
- Municipal buildings
- Public libraries
- Athletic clubs and YMCA’s
- Senior centers
- Community centers
- Social clubs
- Certain non-profits
Daycare services have not yet been mandated to close, particularly ones that serve children of essential personnel. However, certain daycare centers that are school-based will be following the closing recommendations of the districts they reside in.
Find updated closing dates here.
Most religious services and activities have been postponed in Connecticut for a period of time. Some institutions are allowing only staff to enter churches and religious buildings. Churches that provide meals have announced brief closures until more information is released on the spread of the virus. Find a complete list of religious closings and delays here.
Religious communities across the state are still actively involving patrons through live streaming services online. Members of the New Life Church in Wallingford were able to sing along this weekend to service that was streamed with only staff present at the church to help reduce the spread. If your church has not already taken these steps to encourage ongoing connections between members, consider contacting religious your officials to get them started!
According to the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website, Federal and CT courts are still open and will remain open to the public. The Judicial Branch has taken numerous steps to ensure the safety of the public and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Under the terms and provisions of the Judicial Branch’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), commencing Monday, March 16, 2020, and continuing through March 27, 2020, the courts will schedule and hear only those matters identified as “Priority 1 Business Functions.”
The following matters are Priority 1 Business Functions:
- Criminal arraignments of defendants held in lieu of bond and all arraignments involving domestic violence cases;
- Juvenile Detention hearings;
- Family orders of relief from abuse;
- Civil orders of relief from abuse
- Civil protection orders
- Ex parte motions
- Orders of temporary custody (Juvenile Matters)
- Orders to appear (Juvenile Matters)
- Emergency ex parte order of temporary custody
- Juvenile detention operations for detainees held for juvenile court
- Termination of parental rights
- Domestic violence victim notification
- Civil and family capias mittimus execution and bond reviews
Civil litigation proceedings and depositions are currently being limited and are not going forward. Workers’ Compensation hearings are also being postponed. All jury trials (civil and criminal), with the exception of jury trials already in progress and criminal jury trials necessitated by the filing and granting of a speedy trial motion, will be suspended for 30 days, resuming on April 13, 2020.
For more information about the COVID-19 trends and resources near you, visit the CT.gov.
Connecticut Safety and Health Advocates
As safety and health advocates, our team at Jacobs & Wallace will continue to keep you updated with any important changes or news. Our firm remains currently open for business, but we ask all of our clients to please refrain from coming to the office as we are committed to limiting exposure.
We are happy and available to communicate with you via email, phone, fax, and regular mail. Please be patient and understand that this situation is unprecedented for all of us—we are in this together. Contact us for a free consultation and to explore your options. Stay safe and healthy, CT!