Westport To Increase Pedestrian Access Along Main Street

Alfred Branch

WESTPORT, CT — Westport will cordon off some parking spaces in the shopping district of Main Street to allow for increased pedestrian access in the downtown area, First Selectman Jim Marpe announced Tuesday.

The move, which was approved by town officials and the Downtown Merchants Association, is part of ReOpen Westport efforts to bring the town back to life in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Retailers along the strip are beginning to open up following the two-plus-month coronavirus-related shutdowns in Connecticut and the country.

Parking spaces on Main Street will be cordoned off between the Post Road East and Elm Street, and the effort will be reviewed in 30 days to see if or how it will continue.

The move is one of several announcements and updates Marpe made on Tuesday. See the statement below:

Main Street Parking Altered to Allow for Additional Pedestrian Access

The Board of Selectman, acting in its capacity as the Local Traffic Authority (LTA), voted this morning to allow the cordoning off of parking spaces on Main St. from Post Road East to Elm Street to allow for increased pedestrian access in Downtown Westport. The initiative, made in collaboration with the Downtown Merchants Association, town departments, and the ReOpen Westport Advisory Team, will be reviewed by the LTA approximately 30 days after its implementation. The review will take into consideration any traffic impacts due to planned construction activity in the area, as well as the overall compliance and success. This initiative is expected to assist the retail merchants that are reopening, while continuing to recognize the need to maintain social distancing for shoppers and visitors to downtown Westport.

To obtain information regarding which businesses are open and their hours of operation, please go to their website or call the businesses directly.

Many Salons, Barbershops Open with Restrictions

The Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) reports that more than 20 hair salons and barber shops were approved to reopen on June 1. Those approved shops are open by appointment only. Walk-ins are not permitted at this time, so it is advisable to call ahead to be sure that a stylist or barber is open and accepting appointments.

Per the State of Connecticut guidelines, only those personal services that do not require the removal of a face mask are available at this time. Services such as lip waxing and beard trimming are not permitted. Shops will be operating at only 50% of capacity in order to preserve social distancing guidelines. The WWHD staff continues to process applications and expects that additional establishments will submit plans to open in the coming weeks.

To reopen, a cosmetology establishment is required to complete the State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development’s online self-certification program. The business needs to submit a plan to the WWHD for approval. A list of Frequently Asked Questions and a Compliance Checklist are available for reference on the WWHD website: www.wwhd.org

ReOpen Westport

Phase 1 is complete with the reopening of many hair salons and barbershops on June 1. Westport now has over 50% of its retail establishments open and over 20 restaurants offering outdoor dining in addition to the many who continue to offer curbside pickup or delivery. Also, many offices are open, with a strong emphasis on working from home if possible. While these business sectors have all been allowed to open, the choice to open remains with the business owner. Some have decided it is not the right time for a variety of reasons.

The ReOpen Westport Advisory Team has worked with countless business owners in each of these sectors as they reimagine their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Westport has an exceptional local business community that is working hard to create a safe and welcoming environment for employees and customers.

Second Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker states, “The last few weeks have been incredibly busy with the important and unprecedented work of helping many of our local businesses reopen safely. I want to thank the entire ReOpen Westport Advisory Team and to our local business owners for their efforts. We learned so much in Phase 1 that we can now apply to Phase 2 and Phase 3 as the reopening process continues throughout the summer.”

She continued, “I also want to extend my gratitude to the local non-profit, Social Venture Partners (SVP) and many of their volunteer partners, who supported the Local Business Advisor Program during the shutdown months of April and May. Through this program, which was a joint initiative between the Town of Westport and SVP, about 30 local businesses received no-cost advisory services on topics such as basic financial analysis, marketing, human resources and other operational issues. Our local businesses are so important to the Westport community. We have offered support, and will continue to do so, at every stage of this pandemic.”

For more information on the State and local reopen efforts including what to expect when you visit a business, please go to https://www.westportct.gov/business/financial-support-for-covid-19 and #reopenwestportct

2020-2021 Dog License Renewal

Town Clerk Patricia Strauss has announced that June is dog licensing month. Licenses covering the term from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 may be obtained from the Town Clerk’s department starting now. All dogs over six months old must be licensed.

Fees for dog licenses are $8 for neutered male or spayed female and $19 for male or female. There will be a $1 penalty per month for renewal licenses issued after July 31. This date has been extended per the Governor’s executive Order #7-II Section 4. A $75 infraction will be issued for any non-licensed dog and for any dog not wearing a current dog tag attached to a collar around its neck or body.

Dog licenses may be obtained by mailing the application, payment, and required certificate(s) (all certificates will be returned with license), along with a self-addressed stamped return envelope to: Westport Town Clerk, P.O. Box 549, Westport, CT 06881. The application may be found at Westportct.gov/dogs. The ability to obtain dog licenses online is expected to be available later this month. Please check with our site for links to the application form or the online licensing site.

“Licensing your dog verifies that rabies immunization is up to date, as the dog owner must present a copy of the pet’s rabies certificate when obtaining a license,” said Strauss. “Connecticut law requires all dogs must wear their assigned tag. This will assist animal control and others to identify your dog should it become lost or run away.”

For more information regarding dog licensing call (203) 341-1110, (the Town Clerk’s Office) or visit our web page located at www.westportct.gov/dogs

Parks & Recreation Facilities Update

Town officials have seen evidence of organized activity and contact sports at the recently re-opened tracks and fields. This type of activity IS NOT ALLOWED under the Governor’s Executive Order 7TT as described below. The Town fields and tracks were reopened to allow for personal recreational activity only. The town must now explore methods to encourage compliance. While the effort will be to keep the fields open, if there is evidence of significant non-compliance, they will be closed once again.

In accordance with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7TT, effective June 1, 2020, the limitation on the number of people allowed in a recreational gathering increased from 5 people to 25 people for outdoor recreational gatherings.

Outdoor gatherings are now permitted for up to and including 25 people with the following restrictions:

i. No contact sports or sports that include shared handling of objects such as balls or Frisbees are allowed.

ii. Attendees shall remain six feet apart, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, and household members, and, except when dining, masks shall be worn when within six feet of those not in the same household.

iii. If the event is an organized gathering, the organizer shall demarcate six feet of spacing in the area of the gathering to demonstrate appropriate spacing for social distancing.

Tennis:

The Town Farm tennis courts and the Doubleday tennis courts (located behind Saugatuck Elementary School) are anticipated to open on June 5, 2020. At this time, play will be limited to courts with nets and singles play only, along with other restrictions, which can be found on the tennis pages at www.westportrecreation.com.

Longshore Golf Course:

As of June 1, 2020, single rider golf carts and pull carts are available at Longshore Golf Course through the 2pm tee time. Use is restricted so that enough time is available at the end of the day to ensure proper sanitization. Carts are limited and available while supplies last.

As of June 5, 2020, tee times at Longshore Golf Course will start at 7am on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and will remain at 8am Mondays through Thursdays. Additionally, play will be extended daily with the last tee time at 7pm.

Athletic Fields:

As of June 1, 2020, the athletic fields at Wakeman, Staples (including Staples track) and Kings Highway opened for individual use and exercise. No organized, competitive, pick-up team play, practices or games will be allowed. Current gathering rules limiting groups to no more than twenty-five people must be adhered to, along with social distancing rules. Those not following these rules will be asked to leave. If compliance is not occurring, fields may be closed completely.

As of June 1, 2020, the Ginny Parker Field at Staples and the PJ Romano Field at Saugatuck Elementary are closed for the summer due to construction.

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This article originally appeared on the Westport Patch