Coronavirus in Connecticut: Live updates, hour-by-hour
As more and more Connecticut residents test positive for COVID-19, stay informed with all the latest information below.
Beyond local and statewide updates, this story will be updated with major regional, national and global information about the coronavirus.
8:21 p.m. - Connecticut State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit announced Wednesday the reopening of services at headquarters, Troop E in Montville and Troop G in Bridgeport for processing new pistol permit applicaitons starting June 15. By appointment only. Click here for more information.
8:05 p.m. - Ansonia police will resume civilian fingerprinting for pistol permits, employment background checks and vendor permits starting June 1, the department announced Wednesday. All fingerprinting applicants must wear a mask while inside the police department.
The fingerprinting will be done by appointment only from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. Fingerprinting is only open to Ansonia residents and non-residents applying for an employment background check for a business based in Ansonia or a vending permit from the city. Police said fingerprinting will be offered on an appointment-only basis. Call 203-735-1885 to schedule an appointment.
5:30 p.m. - The staff at the Connecticut Department of Public Health removed 356 cases and 808 tests from the state’s overall COVID-19 numbers in the past 24 hours after they were identified as duplicates in the system.
There have been 341 new positive cases since Tuesday and 5,215 new tests, putting both totals at 4,1288 and 229,769 respectively.
Ten more COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals, with 684 current virus patients hospitalized across the state. There were 34 more deaths, putting the statewide total at 3,803.
2:25 p.m. - Yale New Haven Hospital and the city of New Haven announced Wednesday plans to open a COVID-19 testing site at the Strong School at 130 Orchard St. This will be the city’s ninth testing location.
A doctor’s referral is required for this testing site, and YNHH will schedule a time for the appointment. If a New Haven resident needs assistance with testing or needs a doctor’s referral, they can call the New Haven Health Department at 203-946-4949.
2:01 p.m. - The Federal Reserve projects that nearly 100,000 Connecticut homeowners and more than 170,000 renters are at risk of missing at least one payment mortgage or rent payment, raising a specter of pandemic-led homelessness, especially when federal unemployment benefits end. Read more here.
1:40 p.m. - The Connecticut Judicial Branch is targeting the partial resumption of operations in three courthouses starting Monday, June 8, guided first and foremost by the overarching goal of protecting the health and safety of the public, bar, staff and judges, Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III said today.
The three courthouses are: the Middlesex Judicial District Courthouse in Middletown, Rockville’s Geographical Area No. 19 Courthouse, and the Litchfield Judicial District Courthouse at Torrington.
Carroll cautioned, “Given the nature of the pandemic, plans can change but our current expectation is to resume limited operations on June 8.”
Judge Carroll cautioned, “Given the nature of the pandemic, plans can change but our current expectation is to resume limited operations on June 8.”
Ten courts have remained open through the pandemic: the Supreme and Appellate Courts, the Judicial District courthouses in Bridgeport, New Britain, New Haven, New London and the Geographical Area Courthouses in Hartford (No. 14) and Waterbury (No. 4); and the juvenile courts in Hartford and Bridgeport. Beyond these locations and the three courthouses resuming partial operations effective June 8, all other courts will remain closed until further notice.
1:20 p.m. - A Danbury man threatened a bus driver with a gun after he was reprimanded for not wearing a face mask inside the public transport, police said.
12:36 p.m. - The Archdiocese of Harford announced that in-person weekday Masses can resume June 8, but parishioners are under no religious obligation to attend Sunday services until at least September.
Officials said no more than 50 people will be allowed attend a given mass, “in keeping with the limitation currently set by the civil authorities,” and attendees will be required to observe social distancing and wear masks.
Wedding and funeral masses will also be allowed to resume June 8 with the same precautions, officials said. Read more here.
11:11 a.m. - Fitness clubs rocked by covid-19 closures face a swell of bankruptcies with more than $10 billion of revenue wiped out as clients ditch memberships, according to investment bank Harrison Co. In a Harrison survey of 1,000 fitness club users, more than a third said they have canceled or plan to terminate existing memberships. Read more here.
10:30 a.m. - A 60-year-old male is the seventh offender under the supervision of the state Department of Correction to pass away from complications related to the novel coronavirus. Read more here.
9:51 a.m. - Sewage may help guide us through the coronavirus pandemic.
Researchers from Yale analyzed sewage from the East Shore Water Pollution Abatement Facility between March 19 and May 1 for a recent study.
They found the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in each sample, present in the stool of COVID-19 patients, was correlated with admissions and coronavirus cases at Yale New Haven Hospital days later. Read more here.
8:21 a.m. - Eight local businesses will receive a total of $15,150 in grants in the third of the Valley Community COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund award round. The announcement was made Tuesday by fund representatives from the Valley Community Foundation, the Valley United Way, the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Valley Council of Health and Human Services. Read more here.
7:45 a.m. - While Connecticut forges ahead with plans to reopen, touting increased testing and capacity to trace new coronavirus cases to control the spread, the system’s launch has been delayed.
Originally set to be fully operational by May 18, two days before the first phase of reopening began, the statewide contact tracing system is now pushed back into June, state Department of Public Health epidemiologist Kristen Soto said. Read more here.
7:11 a.m. - Begining today - Wednesday, May 27 - Metro-North is expanding service with more train service on the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson lines.
The expanded service represents an overall increase of 26 percent in peak train availability since its essential service schedule went into effect on April 13. Read more here.
6:21 a.m. - For places like bars and clubs to reopen when Connecticut reaches Phase 3 of its return to business in late July or August, residents will have to retain the good habits that most people are following when it comes to social distancing, mask wearing and hand-washing, according to the report released Tuesday by Gov. Ned Lamont and his Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group. Read more here.
5:48 a.m. - The Bethel municipal center will reopen to the public on June 1, with limited access and new procedures in place.
Appointments are required by calling departments in advance, the town said on its Facebook page. Entry will be permitted only through the front entrance near the general purpose room. This entrance has a handicap-accessible ramp.
9:17 p.m. - High school graduations at Bridgeport Public Schools will be virtual, with schools holding campus car parades for students to pick up their diplomas.
8:34 p.m. - Mystic Seaport Museum has reopened. Click here to read more about how the museum’s reopening went.
7:21 p.m. - Gov. Ned Lamont has released the full report on reopening Connecticut after the pandemic. Click here to see the full report.
5 p.m. - Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday reported that another 27 COVID-19 patients died since Monday, bringing the total in the pandemic to 3,769. In addition, there was a net reduction of 12 hospitalizations, for 694 patients statewide, equal to the total of about April 1. Click here to read more.
2:35 p.m. - Now that the peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations appears to have passed in Connecticut, people who have been waiting for non-emergency surgeries are beginning to be seen. In a health system that was as hard-hit as Yale New Haven Health, with seven hospital campuses from Greenwich to Westerly, R.I., it will take months to take care of all the patients whose procedures were postponed. Click here to read more.
11:15 a.m. - Gov. Ned Lamont will hold his regular press briefing about the coronavirus at 4 p.m. today, according to his office.
West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo will also participate in the briefing, officials said in a release.
10:20 a.m. - The Dow Jones industrial average rose by nearly 600 points early Wednesday, “as as the national shutdown continues to unwind, more drug companies chase coronavirus vaccines and the New York Stock Exchange reopened its floor to traders for the first time in two months,” according to the Washington Post.
9 a.m. - The Rotary Club in Milford has canceled the annual Lobsterbake, its largest fundraiser of the year, because of coronavirus-related concerns.
“It is with great regret that we will not be having this extraordinary event this summer,” an announcement from Milford Rotary read. “We, like so many other organizations and nonprofits in town, have so much fun doing these events for the community but it is not worth risking the safety and health of our loved ones, friends, neighbors and our own fellow Rotarians.”
7:30 a.m. — As of Tuesday morning, there were approximately 5,515,109 cases of coronavirus worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. This includes roughly 1,662,768 in the United States, where 98,223 people have reportedly died of the disease.
2:40 p.m. - In a state report on Monday, officials report an additional 405 confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 40,873. The report also said 3,742 people had died after contracting the virus, up by 49 from the day before. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 grew for the first time since April 22, up by five to 706.
The use of face masks in public setting is still recommended, & we're asking our patients & visitors to do the same while at our facilities. (Note that our no-visitor policy is still in effect, so this only applies to current exceptions.) Visit, https://t.co/II92wNBkRt. pic.twitter.com/q7BcqAyhpg— Bridgeport Hospital (@BPTHOSP) May 25, 2020
1:50 p.m. - Residential summer camp directors, campers and families were all disappointed when Gov. Ned Lamont announced they’d be closed for the summer. But when Lamont later said he’d reconsider, their reaction wasn’t exactly jubilation. Read the full story.
1:11 p.m. - Grocery store employees are looking for protections during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
6:39 p.m. - As the state reopens, nursing home residents make up 69 percent of coronavirus related deaths. Read more here.
4:23 p.m. - In a tweet, Governorn Ned Lamont said 40,486 Connecticut residents had tested positive for coronavirus as of Sunday, up by 446 from the day before. He said 18 more people had died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 3,693. Hospitalizations continue to decline in the state, Lamont said, and 701 people are currently being treated in medical centers for the virus.
UPDATE: Daily COVID-19 data in Connecticut— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) May 24, 2020
- 40,486 people tested positive (+446)
- 3,693 people have died (+18)
- 701 patients are currently hospitalized (-23)
- 214,136 tests have been reported to the state (+5,769)
For more data sets, visit https://t.co/FpgO8W27I0. pic.twitter.com/udneuRMxAX
9:48 a.m. - As the Bridgeport Diocese works to reopen churches for the public celebration of Mass, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said the prime reason to suspend services was “our common moral obligation to protect human life.”
He said “given all the misinformation that exists in the media, we must never forget that the decision was rooted in a commitment to remain faithful to a central tenet of our Catholic faith.” Read more here.
8:15 a.m. - Millions of Americans have emerged from coronavirus lockdowns and venture outdoors to celebrate Memorial Day weekend at beaches, cookouts and family outings, raising concern among public health officials that large gatherings could cause outbreaks to come roaring back.
Medical experts warn that the virus won’t take a holiday for the unofficial start of summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people stay home, avoid crowds and connect with family and friends by phone or video chat. Read more here.
7:22 a.m. -
Here are five things you can and can't do this summer based on current state and local guidelines. Read more here.
8:43 p.m. - Although the Memorial Day parade in Trumbull was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, the Nichols Fire Department has planned a “Ride for Pride” in celebration of the holiday instead. Click here for more details on Monday’s event.
4:15 p.m. - There have been another 382 Connecticut residents confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, putting the statewide total at 40,022. Another 38 residents have died with the virus, putting statewide fatalities at 3,675. Sixteen more virus patients were discharged from hospitals, with 724 patients currently hospitalized. There were another 6,039 tests performed, with 208,367 tests performed overall.
2:15 p.m. - Mystic Pizza has been granted a state permit to provide outdoor dining, according to Gov. Ned Lamont’s office.
The permit, which allows the business to use a state highway right-of-way to provide seating, represents the first of its kind that the administration has issued during the coronavirus crisis, according to Lamont’s office.
“We want to do our best to partner with businesses to make any adjustments we can to help commercial operations resume while also maintaining the necessary health standards that will keep customers and employees protected,” Lamont said. “This is going to require some creative modifications that we’ve never had to do before, but working together we can find solutions to many of these obstacles.”
12:45 p.m. - Thinking about going to the beach for Memorial Day? Here are the rules during the pandemic.
12 p.m. - Spain is expected to restart its major soccer league and re-open to tourists in July, according to the Washington Post.
9:45 a.m. - Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday, citing the slowdown in travel prompted by the pandemic.
7 a.m. - As of Saturday morning, there were approximately 5,231,328 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. This includes 1,601,434 in the United States.
5:08 p.m. - Nursing homes in Connecticut have reported 7,875 confirmed cases of the virus, representing about 20 percent of the state’s 39,017 cases as of Wednesday, according to data from the state. Confirmed cases of the virus at assisted living facilities account for about 2.5 percent of the statewide total with 973 infections.
Data provided May 14 had showed 6,947 confirmed cases of the virus in nursing homes and 872 in assisted living facilities. There were 1,927 deaths in nursing homes and 276 in assisted living facilities associated with the virus.
Confirmed and probable virus-linked deaths among nursing home residents reached 2,190 as of Wednesday, the data shows. There have been 306 virus-related deaths among assisted living facilities residents.
Together, the deaths represented roughly 70 percent of the 3,529 coronavirus-related fatalities reported statewide as of Wednesday. On Friday, the state said Covid-19 related deaths have reached 3,637.
5:15 p.m. - There have been another 55 fatalities linked to the coronavirus pandemic in Connecticut, for a total of 3,637. There were 432 more state residents confirmed positive for the virus, for a total of 39,640. But hospitalization continue to fall, down another 76 since Thursday, putting the total number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the state at 740 — the lowest since March 31.
3:12 p.m. - Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said the city’s unemployment rate is curerntly at 17.3 percent.
1:20 p.m. - The Connecticut Restauarant Association is lobbying Gov. Ned Lamont to allow people to dine indoors at restauarants beginning June 3.
Scott Dolch, executive director of the association, noted that Rhode Island would begin restricted indoor service June 1.
“This date would be two full weeks after many other Connecticut businesses were allowed to begin operating indoors, and two days after Rhode Island. This won't be a return to normal -- like Rhode Island, Connecticut can take this next step with many added safety precautions, such as limiting overall capacity to 50 percent, no standing room or bar seating, added use of gloves and masks, and much more,” said Dolch.
“Moving restaurants to restricted, safe indoor dining on June 3 will be a critical point in Connecticut's recovery, and a great thing for our state economy. After all, Connecticut’s restaurant industry employed more than 160,000 people before this pandemic hit, and we need to get all those people back to work if we want to restart our economy. We look forward to continued productive and cooperative work with Governor Lamont, Commissioner David Lehman, and others in the administration to ensure that Connecticut remains competitive as we reopen.”
11:30 a.m. - The Navajo Nation is enacting a 57-hour curfew beginning Friday night in an effort to combat the coronavirus, according to the Washington Post.
The nation has “reported more than 4,250 cases of covid-19 among a population of about 173,600 — a higher per capita infection rate than New York state,” according to the Post.
9:32 a.m. - RegalCare at New Haven was cited for the incorrect use of PPE, for not having enough PPE, and for not checking staff members’ temperatures before allowing them to enter the work area after being inspected during the pandemic, according to the Connecticut Health I-Team.
The nursing home was one of several found to have “deficiencies” during recent inspections. Issues included failure to separate COVID-positive residents from residents who do not have the virus, improper use or no use of personal protective equipment, failure to practice good hygiene and hand washing and the improper sanitation of equipment.”
None of the facilities were fined.
8:21 a.m. - Gov. Ned Lamont announced that U.S. flags in Connecticut will be lowered to half-mast until sunset on Sunday, May 24 “as a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the coronavirus pandemic,” as President Donald J. Trump has signed a proclamation directing it.
“Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags - including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise - should also be lowered during this same duration of time,” officials with Lamont’s office said in a release.
8 a.m. - In updating its guidance to the American public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized that the coronavirus “primarily spreads from person to person and not easily from a contaminated surface,” according to the Washington Post.
CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told the Post Thursday that the revisions were the product of an internal review and “usability testing.”
7 a.m. - As of Friday morning, approximately 5,125,612 coronavirus cases had been confirmed worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. This includes 1,577,758 confirmed cases in the United States.
6:32 p.m. - Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said the annual carnival in the parking lots surrounding the Danbury Fair Mall has been cancelled for this summer.
3:10 p.m. - The Connecticut State Police Headquarters in Middletown is expected to announced plans regarding a limited reopening in the near future.
2:35 p.m. - Connecticut’s fatalities in the coronavirus pandemic rose to 3,582 on Thursday with 53 new deaths, the state Department of Public Health announced.
For the 29th consecutive day, net hospitalizations declined, which Gov. Ned Lamont said was another encouraging sign that the state is on track for its slow reopening. The reduction of 71 hospitalizations brought the total to 816, the lowest since April 1.
1:41 p.m. - Stamford Downtown announced it has cancelled the 2020 Alive@Five and Wednesday Nite Live concert series. The move came on the day the state was taking initial steps toward reopening after a long shut-down to slow the spread of COVID-19. But large gatherings like the summer evening performances in Columbus Park are still not allowed. Read more here.
1:22 p.m. - Norwalk is installing concrete barriers on Washington Street to block off parking spaces on the south side of the road and allow more space for outdoor dining and retail. Read more here.
1:01 p.m. - Q&A: Gov. Ned Lamont answers your questions about reopening Connecticut amid coronavirus. Watch the video here.
12:20 p.m. - A lack of federal and state guidance, coupled with limited availability of protective gear, is inhibiting Connecticut’s nursing homes residents from getting to shower, with workers instead sponge-bathing many residents in their beds.
That’s according to the union representing front-line staff at 69 nursing homes in the state, the operator of 24 long-term care facilities, and the leader of the state association representing providers of for-profit nursing homes. Read more here.
11:45 a.m. - Connecticut shed 266,300 jobs in April, a record single-month loss that highlighted the devastating toll of the coronavirus crisis, according to preliminary numbers released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.
At the same time, Connecticut’s unemplloyment rate spiked to 7.9 percent, but that rate “appears severely underestimated due to data-collection challenges, according to labor officials. Read more here.
11:15 a.m. - For Lindsey Carley, Wednesday’s reopening of the Westfield Trumbull Mall came just in time. “Someone needs a new bathing suit,” she said gesturing toward her 11-year-old daughter, Emma. The Carleys live on Canoe Brook Lake in Trumbull, and Emma has been looking forward to having a friend over on Thursday. “It’ll probably be too cold to swim, but they can play outside.” Read more here.
10:47 a.m. - The same day thousands of workers across the state are returning to work, around 300 showed up at the state Capitol to claim that Connecticut wasn’t reopening quickly enough because their businesses were left out of the first phase.
Stylists and barbers, whose opening was pushed back to June 1, made up a bulk of the protesters. Read more here.
Gov. Ned Lamont and DEEP’s news briefing this morning on the opening of state parks and beaches. Lamont also answers more reopening questions.
10 a.m. - For hair service providers, Wednesday’s partial reopening of restaurants, retail shops and other facilities was an emotional day, after learning Monday that they won’t be allowed to open yet — just two days before they were due to take clients. Read more here.
9:34 a.m. - Connecticut restaurants could open for indoor dining on June 20 and bars could reopen a month later under new state recommendations announced Wednesday.
The list of reopenings set for June 20 includes gyms, hotels and motels, movie theaters, museums and aquariums, nail and tattoo salons and amusement parks. All of it would be worked out with specific rules that have yet to be written. Read more here.
9:10 a.m. - When Aleks and Phyllis Gjeka opened La Fortuna Bar & Restaurant in Stratford in November, they figured much of their time would be spent preparing the food they planned to serve.
They hadn’t anticipated that, just four months later, a pandemic would force them to spend more time figuring out how to get that food to customers.
After a more than two months of a ban on sit-down service, Wednesday marked the first day the state allowed establishments like La Fortuna, an Italian restaurant and wine bar, to provide more than just delivery and takeout. Read more here.
8:44 a.m. - UConn is preparing for severe cuts to the athletic, administrative and academic budgets due to the impact of the coronavirus, officials said at a Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday.
A fiscal working group assembled to identify potential savings has “recommended pretty deep cuts to the whole university,” Chief Financial Officer Scott Jordan said. The board is expecting to consider spending plans for the 2020-21 school year next month, with significant uncertainty about whether students will be able to return to campus or remain online. Read more here.
8:19 a.m. - Gov. Ned Lamont takes your questions about the first and second phases of reopening Connecticut amid the coronavirus pandemic.
How’s Connecticut doing on the reopening? Too fast? Too slow? Are the rules clear enough? Join the governor and Hearst Connecticut Media Group Columnist and Editor Dan Haar on Thursday, May 21 at 11:30 a.m. The governor is scheduled to join for the first 30 minutes, then Haar will host a roundtable discussion with local business owners — David Lewis of Operations Inc. in Norwalk and Judith Roll of Judy’s Bar & Kitchen and the Tabouli Grill, both of Stamford — and continue taking questions for the second half hour. Details here.
7:31 a.m. - In Photos: Phase 1 reopening day around Connecticut. Click here to view.
7:06 a.m. - On Thursday, May 21st, 2020 the Stamford Police and Stamford Fire and Rescue will be conducting two mask drives. One will serve the Southend community which has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The other will serve the Glenbrook and Springdale communities.
The locations will be at the South End Community Center, 34 Woodland Street, and we will also be located at Dolan Middle School, 51 Toms Rd, between the hours of 5 to 7 p.m.
6:46 a.m. - The Town of Ridgefield has announced that the DOG PARK and TENNIS COURTS will NOT open until June 1st as they put protocols into place. An earlier announcement that the dog park would open May 20 has been rescinded. Other reopening dates include: Martin Park: June 13; Rec Center: June 20; and Camps: June 29.
6:33 a.m. - Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino will reopen on June 1, a move Gov. Ned Lamont discouraged and called “incredibly risky.” Read more here.
6:01 a.m.- Health concerns with the COVID-19 virus and with much regret, the Board of Directors of the Milford Oyster Festival has decided to cancel the 2020 Oyster Festival scheduled for Aug. 15. Read more here.
And, the Norwalk Oyster Festival has also been cancelled for the same reasons. Read more here.
7:32 p.m. - State Rep. Steve Stafstrom says if the casinos won’t agree to wait to reopen, the state should “pull their liquor license,” according to a tweet.
“It’s not right that the casinos would be permitted to serve indoors when our mom and pop restaurants are not allowed to,” Stafstrom said.
7:27 p.m. - In Monroe, fire stations remain closed to non-firefighters and visitors. Birthday parties and similar visitations are currently on hold; the hall is not available for rent right now. The 2020 carnival in town is canceled.
6:50 p.m. - Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order Wednesday that allows all eligible state residents to vote by absentee ballot in the Aug. 11 primary elections.
“Nobody should need to make a decision between their health and their right to vote,” Lamont said. “Our state has taken every responsible step to this point to ensure that our residents are safe, and the next step we must take is to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 when Connecticut residents cast their ballots. We must guarantee access to the ballot, and this is a way to do that during these extraordinary circumstances. I do not take this decision lightly, and it is with the public health and welfare of residents in mind.”
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced that she plans to mail every registered voter in the state an application they must fill out and return in order to get an absentee ballot. The application will be sent via U.S. Postal Service and will include a postage paid return envelope.
The state’s 2020 presidential primary was initially scheduled for April 28. It was then rescheduled to June 2 as the coronavirus pandemic continued before Lamont pushed it back further to Aug 11, the same day the state has primaries for other federal, state and local offices.
6:29 p.m. - In response to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s comments during his COVID-19 briefing Wednesday in relation to the reopening of casinos, Mohegan Tribal Chairman James Gessner issued the following statement:
“This afternoon, Governor Lamont and his reopen team expressed two general concerns about Connecticut casinos opening on June 1. First, they worry about the regional impact, specifically referencing buses coming from New York or other states. We completely agree, that’s why the plan we put forward today made clear that both casinos will not accept any buses and clearly not from New York or Massachusetts, nor will we do any marketing to those states at this time. Second, they are concerned about older customers who may have increased health risks. Again we agree, that’s why the plan we put forward today made clear that we will advise older customers to take specific precautions and to stay home if they are part of an at-risk group. We appreciate the Governor’s concerns, and we appreciate that he also made clear the tribal nations are being ‘thoughtful’ about reopening. We look forward to working with him further as the state continues to reopen.”
6:27 p.m. - Easton Parks & Recreation said the tennis courts and the Veterans lower field are open while playgrounds at the basketball court at Helen Keller Middle School remain closed.
6:20 p.m. - David Cruz of Norwalk, dining at Public Wine Bar: “It’s a beautiful day. I’m here to support the local businesses, which I consider great people … They’re out there risking it all to create a better city for us and I want to support that.”
* * *
Yeceida Gonzalez of Norwalk, dining at the Burger Bar & Bistro in SoNo: “It feels absolutely liberating to be out and slowly find our way to getting back to normal … It’s not good for the kids to be inside. You’ve got to get back into the world.”
Abram Gonzalex of Norwalk: “Plus we’re taking advantage of the fast service. It pays to be out … You just can’t allow fear to dictate every single thing in our lives … We just took advantage of the beautiful day.
* * *
Raquel Lagan of Norwalk, dining at Donovan’s: “We want to get out and support the local community. It’s hard that they had to stay closed (and) we just want to help them out.”
* * *
Lindsay Green of Darien, walking by outdoor diners in SoNo, said: “It feels like seeing a teacher outside of school,” as it was so strange to see them. “This is great. I love it.”
* * *
Andrew Greenberg of Stamford, dining at Washington Prime: “I’ve got to support the economy. I’ve got to support the local businesses.”
* * *
Christian Dunlay of Stamford, dining at Washington Prime: “Our friend owns the restaurant and we wanted to give them some support on the first day.”
* * *
Mersini Foustellis of Norwalk, dining at Bandido Mexican Restaurant: “We’re sick of being locked up.”
And her friend, Ricky Landuburu of Norwalk said, “Not only that, we’ve got to support our friends and local businesses.”
* * *
Dave Studwell, co-owner of Washington Prime, speaking of thermometer testing: “I think a lot of people are going to be adverse to it … but we’re doing anything we can to be safe” (and offer comfort to patrons) — “As much as you can comfort someone at this time.” (Thermometer is infrared) “Anybody who has a 104-degree temperature or higher is not allowed to dine … It’s CDC guidelines.”
Everything is touchless, including the menu, or you can get a disposable one (or use app on phone) … “So it’s a totally contactless dining experience.”
“We’re just kind of hoping everything kind of gets back to normal as soon as possible… We’ve been closed since March 15,” and no takeout or curbside at all since.
* * *
Nick Alvarez of New York City: “We were just hanging out and I just see in the news that Connecticut, parts of it, are slowly opening up, and I was like, ‘We’ve gotta get over there.’”
His friend Taylor Giacco of New York City: “We’ve been quarantined for too long, so the minute I heard, I was out the door.”
5:58 p.m. - Bridgeport’s Brewport has been planning for Wednesday’s reopening, managing partner and brewmaster Jeff Browning Sr. said, since it closed. They’re already working on the next step for next month.
“We started on the 18th of March,” Browning said as staff served the first two tables Wednesday a little after 3:30. “We obviously knew reopening was going to be different, so we immediately started acquiring things like hand-sanitizer machines, putting in different sinks in the bathroom, changing our booth backs inside the restaurant.”
Browning said an architect designed the layout of their outdoor space, built in the parking lot, to maximize capacity (around 75 people) safely. Smaller round tables, built atop old newspaper boxes, are eight feet apart. Long tables in the back are six and a half feet apart and bolted down so customers can’t combine them and violate the executive order against parties of over five.
Inside, Browning swiped from a place in Nashville the idea of a “claw” in the bathroom, allowing a customer to pull the door open with her foot and not have to touch the handle. Outside the bathrooms, Brewport is installing a long three-bay sink with swan necks and touchless sensors, combining the old with the new and allowing patrons to wash their hands without entering the rest rooms.
Safety and comfort are big for Browning, even if it’s rough knowing that the groups of 10 or 15 who might congregate there in normal times can’t do that.
“We need people who are understanding and that care about other people, about their surroundings. If you go out, you need to observe safety standards not for yourself, but for everybody else,” Browning said.
“That needs to really be pushed that you’re being kind to humanity by wearing your mask, and if you want to go outside your own backyard, you need to take some precautions that we didn’t have to take (before).”
Among changes for the next round of reopening, when diners can get inside — around June 20, Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday — are glass dividers for some downstairs booths and wood risers above the others; some booths in spots where tables had been; and some still bigger booths, when bigger groups are allowed.
In the meantime, Browning wanted to remind people that takeout is still available.
“If you’re not comfortable coming to a place like this, you can still bring it home. I’m sure every other restaurant wants people to know that their to-go business didn’t end because we’re allowed to have 25 people under a tent,” he said. “We need both businesses.”
There was some decent turnover over the first couple of hours, about 15 tables in and out, Browning guessed.
Fred Daniele and his friend, just Jim, joked that they weren’t Brewport regulars but hold many business meetings there. They had come to pick up over the past couple of months but were glad to be back.
“It’s perfect timing, right before the holiday weekend,” Daniele said.
“Everybody’s out trying to support everybody they can, right? I think this is great.”
“Gotta pass those bucks around,” Jim said.
Cash flow is important, Browning said.
“I trust our great business will come back when we’re allowed,” he said. “We just want to make enough money to pay our staff so that they can pay their bills.”
5:42 p.m. - Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino will reopen on June 1, a move Gov. Ned Lamont discouraged and called “incredibly risky.” Click here to read more.
5:15 p.m. - J. Lawrence in Bethel was fully booked for reservations of its 13 to 14 tables on Wednesday evening, co-owner Kelly LaReau said.
She said she had not known what turnout to expect.
“I was a little surprised,” LaReau said.
The restaurant was already zoned for one patio, but added another, she said. Normally, the restaurant has 100 seats, but is down to 48. Menus are available through a QR code, with some paper ones available, she said.
“We put in a lot of time and effort the last week or so,” LaReau said.
Two servers cover and stay at each patio, which have designated bathrooms. Restrooms are checked and sanitized every hour, with a log hanging in the bathroom so customers know they have been cleaned, LaReau said.
Employees undergo a health check before starting their shift and were trained on new cleaning procedures.
On the Sunday before restaurants and bars were shut down, Brenda Hunt and her friend went to Broken Symmetry Gastro Brewery in Bethel.
They returned on Wednesday afternoon, the first day they were allowed back.
“I’m so excited that things are opening,” said Hunt, a Danbury resident.
The two were among about five groups of people on the patio at the brew pub. Everyone was in seating at least six feet apart.
Among them was Amy Mannion and her three sons. Her brother is one of the co-owners of the brewery, and she wanted to go to support him and because she knew it would be a clean and safe environment.
“The experience has totally felt that way,” Mannion said. “And they have really good food.”
Since the pandemic began, her family has been purchasing one lunch and one dinner from a local establishment to support area businesses.
4:38 p.m. - On the day the state began reopening in the coronavirus pandemic Gov. Ned Lamont announced another 57 deaths, bringing the total to 3,529. The net decrease of hospitalizations was 27 for a total of 887, in the 28th straight day of declines.
On Tuesday, the state Department of Public Health reported 23 new fatalities in the lowest single-day death toll since April 6. It brought the total to 3,472. The total hospitalized was a net decrease of six, to 914, the lowest since April 3.
4:36 p.m. - Rosy Tomorrow’s in Danbury celebrated its 40th anniversary Wednesday by opening 13 tables on its existing patio.
“It’s a birthday present in disguise that we can open up and see some of our customers,” said Sean Deakin, vice president of operations.
Normally, the restaurant has an indoor capacity of 170, plus 19 tables outside that can fit as many as six people. Most tables only sit two people now, with five as the maximum, Deakin said.
In about the first three hours, the restaurant had 25 customers.
“We expect a big crowd tonight,” Deakin said. “There’s been a huge buzz about opening up.”
Among the first customers were Lynn and Jerry Platania. The couple said the restaurant was the first place they went after buying a house in Danbury many years ago and they have loved the food and the employees, many of whom have worked there for years.
“They are completely dedicated,” Lynn Platania said.
4:35 p.m. - Stamford Downtown announced Wednesday the cancellation of the 2020 Alive@Five and Wednesday Nite Live concert series.
“It has not been an easy decision to make, but we believe it is the best one considering the present circumstances,” said a statement from David Kooris, president of Stamford Downtown. “Stamford Downtown is committed to bringing live music to the community whenever feasible and bringing people together while following evolving state regulations for public gatherings and in-keeping with best available science for the protection of public health. Our team was working on a great lineup for this summer’s Alive@Five and Wednesday Nite Live concerts and we are all disappointed that the series needs to be cancelled for this summer. We will develop alternative live music events as soon as we’re able. We look forward to our summer season 2021 when we can bring the music back to downtown.”
4:30 p.m. - A familiar scene played out at Manjares cafe and tapas bar in New Haven, where a couple of customers held a business meeting over coffee outside on the patio Wednesday morning.
Brian Lynch and David Abrams were the first customers at Manjares the day the place reopened and said eating outside felt “absolutely wonderful.”
“It feels more normal again,” Lynch said.
Owner Ana De Los Angeles said she didn’t have high expectations for Wednesday’s reopening, but is one of the fortunate restaurants with ample outdoor seating, a separate entrance and exit, and hand sanitizer by the door.
“I miss my customers and I hope we see more soon,” she said. Manjares is serving its full menu, brunch cocktails, takeout and soon delivery through Grub Hub, she said.
In Guilford, the businesses around the town green were vibrant with activity and business owners were happy to welcome back customers with the new safety measures.
Daniela Balzano, owner of Water Street Jewelers, said she was feeling excited and had already had two customers Wednesday morning.
“It’s like going to your first day of school exciting,” she said. “Our customers are family so we’ve missed everyone.”
4:24 p.m. - Ibiza Tapas in Danbury planned to open at 4 p.m. for outdoor dining, which the restaurant has never offered before. The restaurant has seven tables at least six feet apart underneath its awning and may add tables under a tent if there is enough demand, said Laura Arias, general manager.
“We’re going to see how it goes, see if it gets busy,” she said.
Reservations are encouraged, with three for Wednesday and four for the weekend, Arias said.
The restaurant has been offering curbside delivery and, for the first time, takeout through GrubHub, DoorDash and similar platforms, Arias said. Both will continue, but customers wanted to eat outside, some asking if they could bring their own tables, she said.
“We heard a lot from our customers,” she said. “They were asking to be closer to us.”
The restaurant learned Tuesday that its application for outdoor dining had been approved. Arias rushed to purchase flowers and put the tables outside.
A hand sanitizer station is available. One table fits four people, but the others fit two to three. Diners are encouraged to order online, but the restaurant has disposable menus.
The restaurant started online ordering because of the pandemic.
“That really helped us,” Arias said. “In the beginning, we were just taking phone calls. It was crazy.”
Still, she estimates the restaurant lost 50 percent of its business due to the pandemic.
Wednesday night only the restaurant offered drink specials for $5.20. The drinks were named “New Dawn” and “Welcome Back.”
“We’re super excited,” Arias said.
4:20 p.m. - Fernando Martins, owner of FernEllie Boutique in New Milford, placed his open sign outside his shop.
“After two months, it’s a little weird,” he said.
He’s gotten mixed feedback from his customers on whether they’re ready to come shop.
Martins too has mixed feelings and said he’ll feel completely comfortable once he gets an automatic hand sanitizer and can make sure his customers use it before they come into the store. Right now, he only has one bottle and refills for the dispenser are back ordered until June.
His store is full of clothing, stuffed animals and other products that he can embroider, so he’s not able to wipe the merchandise down or spray it. He said people like to visit the store so they can touch the items before they buy them— something they can’t do online.
He’s already selling online where his masks are his most popular item. Those
Annalise Depino, an employee of Katalina’s Bakery, said mornings used to be busy as heavy foot traffic on Whitney Avenue meant people looking for coffee. As of noon today, there have been no customers and no coffees sold #ctreopens #nhv pic.twitter.com/xgucI131wf— Brian Zahn (@brizahn) May 20, 2020
Calf Pasture Beach and Veterans Park are reopening today May 20th.— Norwalk, CT Police (@NorwalkCtPD) May 20, 2020
Hours are from 7:30am-8:30pm
Parking is capped at 50% of capacity, and residents are reminded to verify their license plates at https://t.co/E6rbSXNktP.
Officers will be on duty at all parks. pic.twitter.com/lyDuMhuFq0
Connecticut has been fortunate to have former FDA Commissioner @ScottGottliebMD at the table providing thoughtful suggestions on how to make progress in flattening the curve and population based mitigation. pic.twitter.com/WataGUnEzS— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) May 20, 2020
As @MinorityHealth @IHSgov @CDCgov & @SecAzar have noted, #COVID19 is having a disproportionate impact on minority populations. We must continue improving health and opportunities for our entire nation-especially our most vulnerable communities. https://t.co/VZK7qfCidB— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) May 18, 2020
Here is the video of our news briefing this afternoon with the latest updates on COVID-19 https://t.co/ZXwZnTmjN6— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) May 13, 2020
Here is the video of our press conference from this afternoon with updates on COVID-19 in Connecticut. https://t.co/eNl6do0Mga— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) May 11, 2020
UPDATE: Daily COVID-19 data in Connecticut— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) May 10, 2020
- 33,554 people tested positive (+570)
- 2,967 people have died (+35)
- 1,242 patients are currently hospitalized (-59)
- 130,192 tests have been reported to the state (+6,623)
For more data sets, visit https://t.co/FpgO8W27I0. pic.twitter.com/LIFoIXldUN