Well, I thought tonight's email would be shorter, but there is an incredible amount of news and valuable information to get to you. The number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 is growing at a rapid rate in Connecticut, particularly with the advent of more testing. The availability of these tests changes by the day, as the supply chain has been unreliable and there are alot of moving parts.

We are sad to hear the Town of Clinton report that a resident has passed away due to complications from COVID-19. The Connective River Area Health District reported that the resident was a female in her 70s, who passed away at Middlesex Hospital.

As we continue to deal with this pandemic it is understandable to feel stressed or anxious. If you need help please contact United Way by calling 211 or visiting  https://uwc.211ct.org/ .

Emergency Relief Funds for Small Businesses & Nonprofits Available

The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will provide emergency cash flow relief to small businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by COVID-19. Through this program, Connecticut is now offering qualifying organizations with 100 or fewer employees access to no-interest loans.

The results of a recent survey conducted by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)  found that the most critical need for Connecticut businesses is assistance with cash flow.The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will provide short-term loans to eligible businesses and nonprofits.

To be considered for this program, your business or nonprofit must:
  • Have no more than 100 employees
  • Be in good standing with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) & DECD 
  • Have been profitable prior to March 10, 2020— with no adverse personal credit reports 60 days past due the past six months
  • Not be involved in real estate, multi-level marketing, adult entertainment, cannabis or firearms; nor be a state elected public official or state employee

Click  HERE  to learn more about the  Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program.

To start your application, click  HERE If you have any questions about this loan program call 800-500-2333 or email  decdCTrecovery@ct.gov

College Students To Be Credited For Unused Room and Board
Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian this week directed the four Connecticut State Universities, including The University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University, Central Connecticut State University and Southern Connecticut State Universities, to credit student accounts for unused room and board, with the crediting to be complete next week. Any credit balance from there will be credited to students. Amounts will vary but students should expect credits covering from when residence halls closed through the end of the spring 2020 term. The move is aimed to ease financial burden for students and their families.
AARP Community Connections
The AARP has launched  AARP Community Connections , a new online platform, allowing users to organize and find local volunteer groups to help neighbors, friends and loved ones pick up groceries, receive financial assistance or receive emotional support during these tough times. These “mutual aid” groups will help communities stay connected in the age of social distancing. Users can request calls from volunteers and counselors, join a safe and supportive online community for people facing health challenges and utilize similar tools to more easily connect with their families.
Fishing Season is open three weeks early - a great opportunity to have fun, be outside and still practice social distancing.

The Connecticut State Golf Association (CSGA) in a letter to members Wednesday said the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is allowing golf courses to re-open. According to CSGA, all clubhouses should remain closed, golf carts are being limited to one person and golfers are being urged to walk if possible.

Governor Lamont’s  Executive Order No. 7N  enacts the following provisions:
  • Restricts all social and recreational gatherings to no more than five people. This order includes, but is not limited to, community, civic, leisure, or sporting events; parades; concerns; festivals; plays or live performances; conventions and similar activities; except that religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings will remain subject only to the prohibition of 50 persons or more. This does not apply to government operations, private workplaces, retail establishments, or other activities that are not social or recreational gatherings.
  • Restricts restaurant payment and pickup operations: Where reasonably practicable, the order requires restaurants, eating establishments, and any bars that remain open for sales of food for off-premise consumption to limit entrance of customers or third party delivery personnel into their locations to the minimum extent necessary to pick up and/or pay for orders, use touchless payment systems, and require remote ordering and payment.
  • Further restricts retail operations: The order requires all retail establishments that have been allowed to remain open and permit customers inside to take appropriate and reasonable measures to ensure customers maintain six feet of distance between each other and to manage any resulting lines to maintain such distance while people are waiting to enter. It also requires these establishments, where reasonably practical, to employ touchless payment technology if they already have such technology available and the customer has such technology available.
  • Requires firearm transactions to be conducted by appointment only
  • Suspension of tax on single-use checkout bags
  • Prohibits employers from requiring employees to place items in customers’ reusable bags: The order prohibits employers of any grocery store or retail business from requiring their employees to bag items into a customer-provided reusable bag. Customers are still permitted to use reusable bags, but they may need to bag their own items.
  • Suspends 21-month limit on Temporary Family Assistance: The order modifies certain statutes and regulations to exclude from the 21-month time limit on receipt of Temporary Family Assistance all months of such assistance received during the public health and civil preparedness emergency. Suspending the time limit for this program will help families get the time and resources they need to get back on their path to self-sufficiency after the emergency is over.
  • Suspends school testing assessments for the 2019-2020 school year: Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major disruption on schools, the order waives all annual student assessment testing requirements for the current school year.

Governor Lamont requests presidential major disaster declaration

Governor Lamont today submitted a request to FEMA for a presidential major disaster declaration for the State of Connecticut. If the disaster declaration is approved, Connecticut residents may have access to additional resources to support childcare, crisis counseling, and other needs identified as a result of the pandemic.

Providing information to Connecticut residents
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit  ct.gov/coronavirus .

Tri-Town Youth Services
For information and links to COVID-19 information, Food Pantry and Grab and Go locations, counseling services, distance learning site for Region 4 Grades K-12 and more click on the following link: http://tritownys.org/

2020 Census

The  U.S. Census  will soon be counting residents in Connecticut and across the nation. It is critical that everyone in our community is counted in the 2020 Census.

The U.S. Constitution requires a census every 10 years.  T he Census determines nearly $11 billion of federal funding for programs including Medicaid, SNAP, school nutrition programs, Head Start education, community block grants and other programs families rely on every day as well as funding for roads, hospitals and the number of seats Connecticut will have in Congress. Lieutenant Governor Bysiewicz noted the state could lose up to $2,900 of funding for every undercounted person. Invitations to respond to the 2020 Census were delivered between March 12-20. There are three ways you can respond to the Census:

The Chester Town Hall, although closed to the public, remains open Monday - Friday, 9-12 and 1-4 for the time being. We are not working on Tuesday evenings at this time. Please call 860-526-0013 for an appointment.

In closing I want to thank you for your outpouring of generosity to your friends, neighbors and family members, and all the offers of help you have made to our town.

Be well,