Shorter news and updates on how COVID-19 epidemic is affecting Darien residents:
No Quiet Cars For Now
Saturday, 9:51 a.m. — “[D]uring the MTA Essential Service Plan, Metro-North will be suspending the Quiet Cars program,” Metro-North has announced.
Children’s Learning Centers Cancels Benefit Featuring Gloria Gaynor
Friday, March 27, 2:53 p.m.:
Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County (CLC) has cancelled its April 24 spring benefit, which was to have featured Gloria Gaynor, the CLC announced Thursday, March 26, on its website.
As of 2:47 p.m., Friday, March 27:
A Little Silver Lining: Metro-North Fares All Off-Peak Now
“With new, reduced train timetable all fares will be OFF-PEAK, even during rush hour,” CT Rail Commuters tweeted.
Gov Lamont’s Latest Executive Order Issues Rules on a Slew of Topics
On Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont issued another executive order, No. 7N, related to COVID-19, and it covered numerous topics. Here’s the (long) summary released by the governor’s office:
- Restricts all social and recreational gatherings to no more than five people: The order modifies the governor’s earlier executive order placing limits on the amount of people who can participate in social and recreational gatherings and reduces that number to no more than five people, through at least April 30, 2020 unless otherwise modified. 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. The order does not require businesses to acquire or use ordering or payment technology that they do not already have, doesn’t prohibit drive-through ordering and pickup, and doesn’t prohibit in-person payment or cash payment where this is no reasonable alternative. Previously issued guidance for hospital and business cafeterias remains in effect.
- 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: The order requires all retail businesses that sell firearms, ammunition, and other similar components or supplies to conduct all transactions by appointment only in order to limit person-to-person contact as much as possible, effective immediately. Appointments must be limited in order to allow a six-foot distance between any customers and staff in a store, and only customers conducting such transactions will be allowed in the store.
- Suspension of tax on single-use checkout bags: The order temporarily suspends certain state statutes in order to suspend any tax on single-use plastic checkout bags at grocery stores and other retail businesses.
- 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.
UBS Optimus Foundation Gives $500K to Americares for COVID-19 Work
UBS Optimus Foundation has donated over $500,000 to support Americares response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The funds will help ensure health workers battling the outbreak in the United States and around the world have the personal protective equipment and training necessary to stay healthy and continue serving patients,” Americares announced.
“In addition, UBS Optimus Foundation will match 20 percent of the donations that clients and employees make to Americares.”