Westport Enters 'Phase 2' Reopening As Coronavirus Cases Drop

Alfred Branch

WESTPORT, CT — As the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Westport continues to slow down, the town on Wednesday entered Phase 2 of the state's reopening efforts.

Phase 2 of the State’s reopening plan includes allowing indoor restaurant dining with restrictions, reopening of fitness facilities and other personal services and many other business sectors.

The town's ReOpen Westport team is working with businesses to ensure safety for residents and employees, according to Westport Second Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker.

"As always, the business owner is empowered to make the decision to open their doors," Tooker said. "However, if they do, the ReOpen Team is working diligently to support them through this complicated process. We want our residents to know we are taking this seriously. It is our goal to build confidence throughout the entire community during this reopen period."

As of Wednesday, there were 298 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Westport, and the number of related deaths stood at 23, according to state and local health officials.

Westport has done a good job of mitigating the spread of the virus, according to Westport Weston Health District Director Mark Cooper, but he urges residents to stay vigilant.

"As businesses and services across the region continue to reopen, personal responsibility is key," Cooper said in a statement. "We should all continue to employ safety measures. If you are elderly or at higher risk due to your health history, think about whether or not an activity increases your chances of getting sick and proceed with caution."

Cooper said that "following safety protocols like wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and good hygiene practices are all critical despite the downward trend in the number of new COVID cases."

Added First Selectman Jim Marpe, "Three months ago, we urged everyone to stay at home, advising that 'you were not stuck at home, you were safe at home,' and that taking the necessary precautions would result in 'flattening the curve.' We are grateful that our strict efforts and quick reaction in shutting down our schools, town offices and facilities, as well as managing the Governor's Executive Orders associated with certain services and businesses, meant that the impact of the pandemic was lessened in our community."

This is from Wednesday's announcement:

For a complete list of the State of Connecticut's Phase 1 and Phase 2 business sectors and rules, please visit https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Sector-Rules-and-Certification-for-Reopen

And for ReOpen Westport Advisory Team information and FAQs please visit https://www.westportct.gov/reopen

To contact the ReOpen Westport Advisory Team, please email reopenteam@westportct.gov.

As part of the ongoing reopening efforts, the Board of Selectmen has recently approved the use of the Imperial Avenue Parking Lot for a series of drive- in movies and a car concert in the weeks ahead. The applicants for these events proposed unique ways to engage the community, but in a new and different way that will help maintain social distancing and comply with the recommendations and rules for reopening in a safe manner. Further details about these events will be forthcoming.

Cooper said, "I urge residents to use common sense and to take advantage of testing, especially if experiencing symptoms. If an individual feels a test is needed, St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Center on Long Lots Road in Westport is a local testing site option with open timeslots. Call (860) 972-8100 to book an appointment."

Marpe continued, "While that time of uncertainty should not be forgotten, the numbers indicate a positive trend, and we are prepared to move forward and into a new standard of how we live, work and play in Westport. I encourage residents who are comfortable doing so, to visit our newly opened restaurants, shops and businesses while wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing protocols. How we behave in these locations is, in fact, a 'new normal.' In addition, it is incumbent upon all of us to be respectful and socially conscientious about our surroundings and fellow members of our community. I remain thankful for all the town employees and volunteers who have reacted and implemented these new protocols in a manner that has been safe and effective for them, their staff, and all our residents. We are continuing to keep the health, safety and welfare of all employees, visitors and residents of Westport at the forefront of the transitions and reopening phases."

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This article originally appeared on the Westport Patch