Today, the Board of Selectmen held our first remote meeting via the ZOOM platform. Nineteen people attended the meeting via telephone or computer video. Regardless of the fact that I had absolutely no experience and basically fumbled my way through the technical aspects - we pulled it off. This is, for now, our new reality. All of our meetings, and any other board or commission who holds a meeting to do business, will be open to the public, properly noticed, posted on the website, and either recorded or transcribed. Backup materials for the meetings will be posted as well for public scrutiny. Thank you to all who joined the meeting for your patience while we learn how to do things differently.

One of the things I did today was join what seemed to be endless online and video meetings. Some of them focused on new procedures required by the Governor's executive orders, some were updates on our response to COVID-19, and others were opportunities for all of the First Selectmen to ask questions and let the Governor and Lt. Governor know what the towns need to best protect and serve our constituents.

The most important and pressing item that was discussed (in my humble opinion) was a description of what the State and Federal Government were doing to help mitigate the damage done to workers and businesses during necessary closures and layoffs. Within the next few days, there will be several "Tele-Town Meetings" scheduled around the state to explain the programs that are being put in place and how to access them. Here is a partial description of what is coming down the pike:



Help for Businesses and residents



Launch of the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program

During his  news briefing this afternoon , Governor Lamont today announced that his administration will soon launch a zero-interest loan program to help Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by COVID-19. The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will be administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development and will make $25 million available to businesses and nonprofits in the state that have fewer than 100 employees. Additional eligibility information and guidance on the application process will be published soon at  ct.gov/coronavirus .


Federal Coronavirus Stimulus Bill #3

A few big things stand out:

Direct payments to taxpayers:   If you make less than $75,000 a year ($150,000 for couples), you’ll get $1,200 — faster if the I.R.S. has your direct-deposit information, later if they mail you a check. There’s an extra $500 for each dependent child. People who make more get less; over $100,000 a year ($200,000 for couples), and you’ll get nothing.

Expanded unemployment benefits:   Larger checks for four months; an extra 13 weeks of eligibility; and assistance for freelancers, “gig” workers (like Uber drivers) and furloughed workers.

Emergency loans for small businesses:   Employers who pledge not to lay anyone off can get government loans to help make payroll — and if they keep that promise for the duration of the crisis, they won’t have to repay the loan.

Money to shore up the heath care system:   $100 billion for hospitals and health systems, and billions more for testing supplies, protective equipment for health care workers, and construction of more space to house patients.

$500 billion to bail out larger companies:   To be doled out at the administration’s discretion, but with immediate reporting of who receives it, an inspector general to watch over the process, and a ban on any of the money going to businesses owned by senior government officials — including the Trump family.




COVID-19 Update: Since yesterday’s update, an additional 257 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 875. To date, more than 5,898 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 113 people have been hospitalized and there have been another 7 fatalities, bringing the total number of fatalities due to complications of COVID-19 to 19.


Mobile field hospitals

In coordination with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), the Governor’s Foot and Horse Guard Units today are deploying a mobile field hospital on the grounds of Danbury Hospital that is anticipated to be up and running by Thursday. It is identical to the mobile field hospital that was deployed  yesterday  on the grounds of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford. A third mobile field hospital is anticipated to be deployed on the grounds of Middlesex Hospital in Middletown in the coming days.

The Ottilie W. Lundgren Memorial Field Hospital, under the authority of DPH, is a state-of-the-art mobile field hospital designed to support the state’s health care system in response to significant emergencies. It is deployable in several parts as a flexible configuration 25-bed units that operate jointly or independently to provide triage and treatment anywhere in the state in the event of a mass casualty. It can also support an acute care hospital after a catastrophic structural or mechanical failure. The hospital assembles in hours and can be ready to triage and treat hundreds of patients during any public health emergency. It was named in 2006 in honor of a Connecticut woman who died from inhalational anthrax in 2001.


The Red Cross of Connecticut has set up a process for people to call ahead and make an appointment to donate blood, and proper social distancing can be practiced. Those who would like to give should visit  www.redcrossblood.org  to make an appointment.


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 .







SEEING STARS

They're back! Light up your stars as a beacon of hope during this pandemic! Light up the ones you already have or purchase one - email chestercthistoricalsociety@gmail.com  or call Dawn Parker directly at 850-526-9293 to place an order. Cost of a 3 1/2' star is $50, or they can go as high as $100. All stars come with lights that need to be plugged in.

All profits from these new epidemic sales to go to the Chester Food Pantry 



Beautiful Things, Colorful things and Slightly Off Color Things to Enjoy


Appalachian Spring - Musicians of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Interview with Ocean Vuong - Author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. https://www.cityarts.net/event/ocean-vuong/

Crosswalk the Musical in Paris - Les Misérables 




Tri-Town Youth Services
 
For information and links to COVID-19 information, Food Pantry locations, counseling services, distance learning site for Region 4 Grades K-12 and more click on the link below.


2020 Census

Your 2020 Census is now available online at  my2020census.gov . Please note that you can complete the questionnaire with or without a code. A complete census is important - it determines how big a share of federal dollars come to our state and town. The process is quick and easy - please try to complete it by April 1st. Thanks!



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.



Be well,

Lauren