Darien Police Transportation

Construction to Block Part of Heights Road Early in Week, Expect Slow Driving Through Detour Lanes

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On Monday July 13 and Tuesday July 14  (and, if needed, July 15), Heights Road in downtown Noroton Heights will be closed due to construction in the area of No. 40 (the building where the Citibank branch is located). — an announcement from Darien Police Department
This closure will be in effect between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Westbound traveling vehicles on Heights Rd. will be detoured through the Noroton Heights Train Station parking lot.  Eastbound traveling vehicles on Heights Road will be detoured north on Edgerton Street to West Avenue. Vehicles will be able access all of the open parts of Heights Road and area businesses.

Darien Running Company announcement it's opening in Darien

Running Supply and Events Store ‘Darien Running Company’ to Open Downtown in July

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A store offering running supplies and events, Darien Running Company, will open this July at 14 Brook St., next door to the Sugar Bowl, in downtown Darien, its owner announced Thursday morning. Megan Searfoss, who cofounded an associated store, the Ridgefield Running Company, in  2014, announced the new location in the RRC’s newsletter. The RRC had plans to expand before the COVID-19 epidemic, which forced a lot of changes on the business. Despite the pandemic, Searfoss said, she decided to go forward with plans for the new store, which she abbreviates as “DRC.” “DRC will offer the same services as Ridgefield Running Company, now retooled to provide a safe and trusted environment,” Searfoss said.

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Town Human Services Council Invites Darienites to Help Local Businesses by Providing Cloth Masks

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Several members of Darien’s Human Services Planning Council, which is convened by The Community Fund of Darien, stepped forward to create the Darien Mask Brigade, where individuals and groups may “adopt” a local business/organization and support their work by providing cloth masks for their employees. — an announcement from the Darien Human Services Planning Council
Due to the coronavirus health crisis, our current reality calls for wearing masks in public places and when not able to appropriately distance ourselves from others. This places a burden on local organizations and businesses, as their employees are required to wear masks at all times in order to operate and serve the community. Masks can be homemade or purchased. Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson applauded the initiative.

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Online Learning Programs for Unemployed Expanded in Connecticut

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The statewide expansion of a program that will make free online learning licenses available to recipients of unemployment insurance, including those who have been impacted by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 public health crisis, was announced Monday by Gov. Ned Lamont. The SkillUp CT program will expand access to comprehensive online course work from a leading global provider for thousands of Connecticut residents. — an announcement from the Governor’s Office

Originally launched in eastern Connecticut, a sustained rollout of the program across the state over the coming weeks will enable recently laid-off workers to upgrade their skills and earn industry-recognized certifications even while the doors to most brick-and mortar education and training providers remain closed. Based on a successful model implemented by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, it is being offered through Connecticut’s five regional workforce development boards. Eligible Connecticut residents will receive email instructions on obtaining a Metrix Learning license that provides them access to about 5,000 online Skillsoft courses in areas such as information technology, business analysis, customer service, project management, and digital literacy, among others.

Double Exposure boutique e-commerce website online sales

Darien’s Double Exposure Boutique Now Has an E-Commerce Website

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Double Exposure Boutique, a 45-year-old high-end consignment shop in Darien, announced Monday that it’s now selling its items online at e-commerce website. “A new chapter has begun,” the store’s owner, Mern Palmer-Smith, said in the announcement Monday afternoon. The announcement also said:

“The Double Exposure Boutique Online Shop will offer the same collections as in-store, giving customers access to ‘best Picks’ of women’s clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories. “There will be new items added to the e-commerce site weekly even though Double Exposure’s physical store remains closed temporarily until further notice.” Customers will have free shipping on orders over $150 and $5 flat rate shipping on orders over $75.

Grocery Bag Palmer's Market

Palmer’s Market Kitchen Reopens and Latest Hours for Supermarkets in Darien

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The kitchen and bakery have reopened at Palmer’s Market, the store announced Wednesday in an email to customers, and it told customers that the hours have changed. At the bottom of this article, we’ve added the most current listing of all supermarket hours and information in town, from the town government website. Palmer’s Announcement
Dear Customers,

This new week has brought us some new changes that we wanted you to be aware of. REVISED STORE HOURS
Until further notice our store hours will be:
Monday thru Saturday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In an effort to ensure that we can get groceries to everyone in need, only 1 order per household per week will be permitted. Please take this into consideration when ordering.

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Lamont: With Software Upgrade, State Should Now Be Faster at Processing Unemployment Applications

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Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday announced that a new software improvement at the Connecticut Department of Labor was launched last night that will significantly increase the speed at which unemployment claim applications can be processed. — an announcement from the Governor’s Office

Paired with the continued manual processing, the originally anticipated six-week wait period will be shortened to one week or less. Like nearly every state in the country, Connecticut has received an unprecedented amount of unemployment claims as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic:

Since March 13, the department received more than 350,000 applications, nearly the same amount that it typically receives over a two-year period
Approximately 174,000 of those applications have already been manually processed prior to the deployment of last night’s software improvements
During the last three weeks, more than $107 million in benefit payments have been provided, significantly more than the $15 to $16 million typically distributed

The department has been operating on a 40-year-old computer system to process the claims, which the Lamont administration had been in the process of upgrading prior to the pandemic. “Staff at the Department of Labor have been working around the clock to process these claims and implement desperately needed software upgrades, and I cannot overstate our appreciation to the public for their understanding during this unprecedented emergency,” Lamont said. “Once processed, all claimants who have filed will receive payments that are retroactive to when they applied.

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LATEST DARIEN COVID-19 NEWS: Continual Updates: March 30 to April 5

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Shorter news and links on the COVID-19 pandemic for Darien:
SUNDAY State Statistics on COVID-19 Cases in Lower Fairfield County
Sunday, April 5, 9:25 p.m. — According to New Canaan Emergency Management Director Mike Handler, New Canaan actually has had 82 people testing positive for COVID-19, and 10 deaths (including two on Sunday). 9:20 p.m. — As of Sunday, an even 100 Darienites (six more than the day before) have been identified with COVID-19, according to information released by state authorities. (Reminders: Many people are thought to have the COVID-19 virus who aren’t identified; the state says “all figures are preliminary and subject to change.”)

Here’s the number of identified cases in nearby communities, according to the state government Coronavirus statistics updates Web page:

Stamford — 652 (48 more than the day before)
Norwalk — 503 (39 more than the day before)
New Canaan — 65 (three more than the day before)
Greenwich — 196 (five more than yesterday)
Westport — 135 (the same as the day before; no additional cases)
Wilton — 73 (three more than the day before)
Weston — 32 (the same as the day before; no additional cases)
Ridgefield — 101 (eight more than the day before)
Fairfield — 70 (four more than the day before)
Bridgeport — 163 (13 more than the day before)

TOP TEN MUNICIPALITIES (with total cases): 1. Stamford (652), 2. Norwalk (503), 3.

Mortgage Payment Relief Plan Announced by Governor, Participating Banks, Credit Unions

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Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration has reached an agreement with over 50 credit unions and banks in Connecticut to offer mortgage relief to the state’s residents and businesses who continue to face hardship caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. — an announcement from the Governor’s Office

Under the agreement, the following relief policies are being offered by participating financial institutions:

90-day grace period for all mortgage payments: Participating financial institutions are now offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments. In addition, the institutions will:

Provide a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
Confirm approval and terms of forbearance program; and
Provide the opportunity to extend forbearance agreements if faced with continued hardship resulting from COVID-19. Relief from fees and charges for 90 days: For at least 90 days, participating financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees and other fees including early CD withdrawals. No new foreclosures for 60 days: Financial institutions will not start any foreclosure sales or evictions.

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Businesses: You’ve Got Till 6 PM Friday to Apply for CT Recovery Bridge Loan Program

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So many applications for loans have come in to the state Department of Economic Community Development that its commissioner announced Friday that no more would be accepted after 6 p.m., Friday night (tonight). In an email sent out Friday afternoon, the Darien Chamber of Commerce passed on this announcement from the commissioner:

At 6 p.m. today, DECD will stop accepting applications for the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan program. We have seen significant demand for the program, receiving over 4,000 applications since the program went operational yesterday morning. Within the last 24 hours, DECD, along with our partner Connecticut Innovations, has added additional staff to process applications for this loan program. In addition, we are doubling the funding in the program to $50 million. We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and keep in close contact with our small business and nonprofit partners as they grapple with the effects of this pandemic on their operations and employees. We feel it is prudent to hit pause and stop taking more applications right now to ensure we can process the current queue efficiently and get this much needed money out the door as quickly as possible. We want to be fair to all applicants and taking more requests would not be right.

Sandwich Board Sign

Town Eateries Allowed Banners and Sandwich Board Signs in the COVID-19 Era

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In order to help out the town’s restaurants, whose business is expected to suffer when indoor restaurant seating was banned by the governor in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Darien is easing town regulations on banners and “sandwich board” signs. Here’s the announcement late Wednesday afternoon from Jeremy Ginsberg, town planning & zoning director:

In accordance with state and local temporary mandates, restaurants and food service establishments are now prohibited from allowing patrons to gather at their establishments. Recognizing that such businesses still provide valuable services to the public by providing food and beverage on a take-out or delivery basis, the Darien Planning and Zoning Department has authorized the temporary suspension of the restrictions of the Darien Zoning Regulations which only allow temporary banners for seven days and which prohibit sandwich board or A-frame type signs. It is the intent of this action to allow restaurants and food service establishments that are open for take-out and delivery to have a single temporary sandwich board or A-frame type sign on the walkway near the entrance door. The display area cannot exceed 6 (six) square feet per side.

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Grieb’s Pharmacy Says Store Now Closed to Customers — Instead: Outside Pickups and Deliveries

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With the small size of Grieb’s Pharmacy’s store, the business has particular challenges in keeping customers safe while many people need to stay at a distance from strangers. So the store announced it’s closing to the public and providing prescriptions either at the door or by delivery, effective today, Wednesday, March 18. Here’s the announcement:

The Coronavirus has presented us with a unique set of challenges to work with within the confines of our small pharmacy. After much thought and concern for the health of the community, as well as our pharmacy team, effective Wednesday, March 18, we will be closing our doors to all walk-in traffic. There will be no interruption in our services as all prescriptions and over the counter items will now be delivered to mailboxes or front steps if required.

Not Just for Restaurants: Barrett Bookstore Now Offers Curbside Pickup, Free Delivery Service

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Barrett Bookstore has announced that it’s started a curbside pickup service for books that you can order from the store website. Or don’t go to the curbside: The store now also has free delivery to addresses in Darien and Rowayton. The store joins lots of Darien restaurants now offering delivery, take-out and curbside service (and remember, it’s becoming a lot easier to park downtown). While authorities are urging you to keep your social distance, COVID-19 is hitting the world economy like an asteroid smacking the planet, you can still support some Darien stores without going inside. Editor’s note: A slew of bookstores around the country are doing what Barrett Bookstore is doing with curbside pickup and deliveries.

Seoul restaurant empty Photo by Jouwen Wang, unsplash.com

You Can Get Take-Out, Curbside Pickup or Delivery from These Darien Restaurants

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Darien town government has published a list of town restaurants open for take-out services, curbside pickup, home delivery or some combination of those services while their seating is closed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Editor’s note: A “sidebar” with advice from a National Public Radio article has been added to the bottom of this page. Also, Stop and Shop supermarkets, including the one in Goodwives Shopping Center at 25 Old Kings Hwy. North, will be open early mornings for only seniors (60 years old and older) from 6 to 7:30 a.m. every day. The rest of the public can come in after that.