Tuesday, November 28, 2023

COVID-19 March Updates

March 31st:

Senator Murphy joined the World Affairs Council of Connecticut for a virtual interactive discussion on federal Coronavirus response legislation, the ongoing worldwide health crisis, and U.S. foreign policy priorities during this uncertain time.
Over the past week, major health insurers, including Aetna/CVS Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Anthem, UnitedHealth Group, Cigna, and Humana updated their policies for covering medical care for COVID-19 treatment. Senator Murphy led a letter with 16 other Senate Democrats asking these insurers to assure their plan participants that COVID-related treatment would be covered. We cannot let cost be a barrier to seeking care.
Senator Murphy authored an op-ed in Foreign Policy about why the United States was virtually impotent from stopping COVID-19 from reaching our shores and what we need to do to make sure we are better prepared for the next pandemic.
March 30th:

FEMA approved Governor Lamont’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Connecticut in response to COVID-19. This allows all eight counties to be reimbursed for 75 percent of the costs associated with their emergency protective measures. Connecticut is still waiting to hear back from FEMA on the other disaster request that would increase individual assistance for food, unemployment, and child care. The CT delegation joined together on Friday in asking the White House to quickly approve the state’s request for support.
Congress passed and President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A lot of people have questions about what’s in the CARES Act. Am I eligible for direct cash payments? Can I apply for unemployment? What help is there for small businesses? Visit murphy.senate.gov/coronavirus to check out a summary of what’s in the CARES Act and answers to frequently asked questions.
Senator Murphy also did a Facebook Live on the CARES Act and answered questions from constituents. Click here to watch the conversation.
Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merill and the Connecticut Congressional Delegation announced that Connecticut would receive $5.4 Million in federal funding for voting security and safety. These funds will help ensure the safety of the 2020 elections in Connecticut and help expand voting access during this public health crisis.
March 27th:

Following a vote earlier this week in the Senate, the House of Representatives passed a third COVID-19 relief bill to help workers, families, hospitals and their staff, small businesses, and the unemployed. The bipartisan legislation includes direct cash payments for low and middle-income families, money to hospitals and health systems, increased funding for unemployment insurance, forgivable loans to small businesses, increased funding for food assistance programs, and more. It will now head to President Trump’s desk for signature.Our office put together a summary of the COVID-19 relief package which breaks down the major provisions of the bill and answers frequently asked questions. Click here to view the summary.
Senator Murphy joined the entire Connecticut federal delegation in support of Governor Lamont’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for the state. This would bring additional federal dollars to Connecticut for unemployment assistance, legal services, child care, crisis counseling, and more.
March 26th

Senator Murphy joined Governor Ned Lamont and Senator Richard Blumenthal at a press conference in Hartford to update Connecticut residents on the federal response to COVID-19. Click here to watch their update.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is asking health care professionals, such as retired nurses and doctors, to consider volunteering their services at a medical facility in Connecticut. Those willing to volunteer should fill out the online form located at ctresponds.ct.gov
Governor Lamont and the CT Department of Economic development launched the Small Business Bridge Loan Program, which is designed to help small businesses employing less than 100 people and non-profits affected by the #coronavirus. For more info visit https://bit.ly/2ybkRLC
It was announced that students at UConn and the four Connecticut state universities will be refunded for room and board, after their semesters were cut short and students shifted to online classes due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Red Cross is experiencing a shortage of blood donations after thousands of blood drives were canceled around the country to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. A number of appointment-only blood drives are being organized throughout Connecticut. To make an appointment in your area, visit www.redcrossblood.org
March 25th:

The Senate reached an agreement on a third COVID-19 relief bill to help workers, families, hospitals and their staff, and small businesses. The bipartisan legislation includes:Direct cash payments for low and middle-income families - $1,200 per person and $500 per child.
$150 billion for hospitals and health systems to fight the virus.
$260 billion for increased unemployment insurance that waives waiting periods and covers part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers.
$377 billion to rescue small businesses, including forgivable loans to small businesses and non-profits to maintain their workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
$150 billion to assist States, Tribes, and local governments with new expenses related to COVID-19 response.
$30.75 billion for grants to provide emergency support to local school systems and higher education institutions to continue providing educational services to their students, as well as $8.8 billion in additional funding to ensure meals for children while schools are closed.
$3.5 billion to support child care centers and provide child care for first responders and health care workers.
$400 million in election assistance for the states to help prepare for the 2020 election cycle, including to increase the ability to vote by mail and expand early voting and online registration.
$7 billion for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs. This funding will help low-income and working-class Americans avoid evictions.
$450 million through The Emergency Food Assistance Program to help stock the shelves of local food banks.
Strong requirements for industries receiving bailout money including no stock buybacks or dividends, restrictions on  increases to executive compensation and a prohibition of funds for any businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments.
March 24th:

Negotiations continue on a third COVID-19 relief bill to speed help to workers, families, hospitals and their staff, and small businesses. Today, Republicans and Democrats announced they were close to finalizing the legislative package, and Senator Murphy is optimistic that a bipartisan deal can be announced soon.
As many Americans try to cope with COVID-19 and disruptions to daily life, we must remember to consider our mental health. Here are some mental health coping strategies released by the National Alliance of Mental Illness and information about maintaining health and wellness while working remotely from the Center for Workplace Mental Health.
Yesterday, Senator Murphy held a call with Connecticut Chambers of Commerce to talk about the impact that COVID-19 is having on Connecticut businesses. He remains committed to helping small businesses continue to function during this pandemic. If you are a small business with questions, you can get in contact with our office for help.
March 23rd:

Today, Senator Murphy introduced legislation to force the federalization of our medical supply chain. The bill would require President Trump to implement the Defense Production Act, pivot U.S. manufacturers toward scarce critical medical equipment, and centralize distribution so that states and hospitals aren’t competing against each other to get it. In Connecticut, hospitals and medical professionals are in desperate needs of supplies like gowns, masks and ventilators.
If you have personal protective items you can donate to our state’s medical professionals, please fill out the online form at www.211ct.org/DonationsCOVID19.
Connecticut has received additional waivers from USDA that will make SNAP more accessible to Connecticut residents and moderately increase SNAP benefits for some recipients. However, more needs to be done to help families get  food and not go hungry. That’s why I am calling for Congress to increase all SNAP benefits by 15% in the next coronavirus aid package.
This afternoon and last night, Senator Murphy voted against moving forward with Republican legislation that would have created a slush fund to bail out big businesses. Senator Murphy remains hopeful that both parties can quickly reach a compromise that supports those most in need. Earlier today Senator Murphy went down to the Senate floor to call for a package that helps states combat the public health crisis.
March 20th:

Today, Senator Murphy proposed a massive proposal to rescue small businesses called the Main Street Emergency Grant Program. The program would allow businesses to apply for grants through the Treasury Department to cover payroll and other fixed costs. The goal is to provide cash for businesses in order to help them stay afloat and ensure that workers can stay employed.
Senator Murphy led the Connecticut congressional delegation in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urging the Department to supply Connecticut hospitals and patients with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE). Connecticut requested 250,000 each of N95 Respirator Face Masks, surgical masks, surgical gowns, non-sterile gloves, and disposable face shields to protect hospital workers and patients as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the state.
Senator Murphy led a group of senators in a letter to major health insurers urging them to fully cover the cost of treatment and testing as it relates to COVID-19.
March 19th:

March 20th at 7:00 pm ET Senator Murphy will be holding a telephone town hall for constituents. Visit https://www.murphy.senate.gov/live to listen live and join the conversation.

Senator Murphy laid out a proposal for some of the items he will be fighting to include in the next coronavirus relief package that is now being developed. These are:

Immediate $2,000 check to every adult and child that phases out at higher incomes to brunt the financial burden of COVID-19 and provide an economic stimulus where it is most needed
15% increase in benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and a suspension of work requirements for up to 14 months
Increase of funding to make sure food banks are stocked with the necessary food and supplies
Addressing homelessness, including payments to workers, institute medical safety protocols, and meet emerging needs
Additional funding to hospitals to make sure they have the resources to handle a surge in capacity
Ensuring individuals impacted by the coronavirus who are unable to work due to quarantine aren’t evicted from their homes
Delaying mortgage payments for this month and waive late payment penalties
Connecticut announced that Access Health CT is opening a Special Enrollment Period starting today, March 19 through April 2. Coverage is available for uninsured Connecticut residents who don’t otherwise receive insurance through their job or become unemployed. The only way to sign up for this Special Enrollment Period is by calling 855-365-2428.

March 18th:

The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This legislation provides emergency paid leave, enhanced unemployment aid for workers and additional funding to state Medicaid programs. We’ll now shift our focus to a third relief package, which is aimed at ending this health crisis and putting money in the pockets of everyday Americans to avoid a collapse in our economy.

As the Senate begins work on the next legislative package, I urged my colleagues to include a number of items I believe are critical to provide support to the workers and families being hit by the economic impacts of coronavirus. In particular, I am calling for this bill to provide direct cash support to every American. This proposal would send a $2,000 immediate cash payment to every American adult and child, with additional cash payments should the public health crisis extend, or if the unemployment rate increases. The payments would phase-out for higher-income taxpayers.

March 31st:

  • Governor Lamont signed another executive order – the 19th since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.
  • Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7R enacts the following provisions:
    • Continuation of funding for boards of education: The order requires the Connecticut State Department of Education to continue processing appropriated state grant funds intended to support boards of education through the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, including ECS grants, payments for special education, and Choice programming. It also requires municipalities to continue providing funding to local boards of education as set forth in the approved annual school budgets.
    • Continuation of payment of public school staff: The order requires school districts to continue to employ, or restore to employment if already laid off, and pay school staff who are directly employed by the local or regional boards of education.
    • Preservation of student transportation services and special education providers: The order requires local boards of education and municipalities to negotiate amendments to contracts related to student transportation and special education services with the goal of continuing to make payments to transportation and special education providers so they may compensate their active employees, sustain the continuity of service when school resumes, and require the contracted company to attest and provide reasonable documentation of the fact that it is charging only the actual and reasonable cost of sustaining wage and health insurance payments for active employees and fleet.
      • Restrictions on entrance to state parks, forests, and other lands: In light of significant visitors to certain state parks in recent days, the order gives the commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection the authorization to ban visitors from entering state parks and other lands under the agency’s control after the property has reached a capacity adequate to supporting implementation of social distancing policies to limit the spread of COVID-19.
    • Curbside pickup of alcoholic beverages permitted: The order authorizes package stores and grocery stores to permit the sale of curbside pickup of all alcoholic beverages allowed by their permit type in any space adjacent to their permit premise and during the days and hours allowed for legal sale.

March 30th:

Department of Revenue Services extends filing and payment deadlines for certain small businesses

  • At the direction of Governor Lamont to provide Connecticut small businesses with immediate administrative tax relief in recognition of the impact of COVID-19, the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) today announced that it granting a two-month extension of filing and payment deadlines for certain small businesses.
  • Taxpayers that have $150,000 or less in annual sales tax liability qualify for an automatic extension of time to file and pay. Similarly, those that have $150,000 or less in annual room occupancy tax also qualify for this relief. Entities that collect both sales tax and room occupancy tax must evaluate each tax separately to determine eligibility for relief.
  • To determine if it is a qualified small business, entities are required to utilize a calendar year look back period of January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2019. Any taxpayer that reported $150,000 or less in tax during that period qualified for the relief.
    Returns covered by this extension includes:

    • For monthly sales tax and room occupancy tax filers: Returns and payments due March 31, 2020, and April 30, 2020, are extended to May 31, 2020.
    • For quarterly sales tax and room occupancy tax filers: Returns and payments due April 30, 2020, are extended to May, 31, 2020.
  • Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the 18th since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.
  • Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7Q enacts the following provisions:
    • Requirement of limited group sizes in childcare: The order requires all childcare facilities to limit group sizes to no more than 10 children in one space. Any facility caring for more than 30 children must obtain approval from the Office of Early Childhood and demonstrate sufficient separation of groups within the facility. This applies to all childcare facilities, including those that are exempt from licensing requirements.
    • Enhancement of health procedures for all operating childcare programs: The order requires all children and childcare staff to be checked at the entrance of childcare facilities for any observable illness, including cough or respiratory distress, and to confirm temperature below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. All staff must adhere to increased handwashing and health practices. Enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices shall be implemented. This applies to all childcare facilities, including those that are exempt from licensing requirements.
    • Authorization of remote notarization: The order eliminates all existing legal requirements to have a signature on any document witnessed by a third party, except in the case of a last will and testament. With respect to last wills and testaments, documents may now be witnessed remotely under the supervision of an attorney. In addition to removing witness requirements, any document required to be filed on the land records must contain a one-page certification, completed by a notary or commissioner of the Superior Court, reciting to the fact that the underlying document was executed pursuant to the executive order.The order also requires all town and city clerks to accept those documents for recording.

March 29th

  • Governor Lamont’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for the State of Connecticut in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was approved today, unlocking additional federal assistance programs for the state.
  • Today’s approval is for public assistance, meaning that impacted state agencies and municipalities in all eight counties will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the costs associated with their response and emergency protective measures. The governor’s other request for disaster assistance, including individual assistance that could provide Connecticut residents with a number of critical benefits, such as expanded unemployment assistance, food benefits, and child care assistance, remains under review by the White House
March 28th:
  • Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the 17th since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.
  • Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7P enacts the following provisions:
  • Authorization to provide for non-congregant housing for persons at risk: This order gives the appropriate state officials authority to ensure safe housing for certain first responder and healthcare workers who need alternative housing, provide for physical distancing in safe and adequate settings for people experiencing homelessness, and meet FEMA requirements to reimburse state efforts in these areas.

March 27th:

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the sixteenth since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7O enacts the following provisions:

  • Suspension of license renewals and inspections by the Department of Public Health: The order modifies certain state statutes to authorize the Commissioner of Public Health to waive licensing, renewal, and inspection requirements as she deems necessary to ensure the provision of adequate healthcare during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Modifies health care provider identification badge requirements: The order modifies certain state statutes to allow healthcare providers to provide direct patient care at a health care facility or institution, with the permission of such facility or institution, using the identification badge from their own healthcare facility or institution. The order also permits the Commissioner of Public Health to establish policies and procedures regarding badging of COVID-19 response personnel should she deem it necessary to rapidly move staff due to the need for mass care in circumstance of limited resources.
  • Waives the registration requirement for alcohol-based hand sanitizers and medical devices: The order modifies certain state statutes to permit the compounding of alcohol-based hand sanitizer production and the production of medical devices, including personal protective equipment used to assist in the treatment of COVID-19, without being required to register as a manufacturer. This provision reduces red tape to allow manufactures such as distilleries to convert to producing hand sanitizer and allows manufacturing of critically needed medical equipment by non-traditional manufacturers, as long as federal guidelines are followed.
  • Waives Birth-to-Three family cost participation fees: The order authorizes the Commissioner of Early Childhood to waive the fees required to be paid by the parents or legal guardians of children eligible for remote early intervention services such as the Birth-to-Three program.

March 26th:

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the fifteenth since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7N enacts the following provisions:

  • 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.

March 25th:

Governor Lamont announced that his administration will soon launch a zero-interest loan program to help Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by COVID-19.

The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will be administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development and will make $25 million available to businesses and nonprofits in the state that have fewer than 100 employees. Additional eligibility information and guidance on the application process will be published soon at ct.gov/coronavirus.

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the fourteenth since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7M enacts the following provisions:

  • Authorizing state agencies to extend statutory regulatory administrative deadlines by 90 days: The order allows flexibility in meeting statutory deadlines for filings, decisions, and notice in the many permitting and other applications and administrative hearings under the purview of state agencies, and requires agencies to post any changes on their web sites.
  • Suspension of mandatory statutory filing requirements for Freedom of Information Act appeals and decisions by the Freedom of Information Commission: As many state offices transition to a telework environment, including the staff at the Freedom of Information Commission, this order suspends the time requirements for filing an appeal with the commission, and the requirement that the commission must hear and decide an appeal within one year after the filing of such appeal.
  • Tolling of time periods for Department of Transportation final determinations on permits: As the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) shifts a significant portion of its workforce to a teleworking situation, this order suspends the 90-day requirement for approving encroachment permits required for work in the “right of way” along Connecticut state roads and highways. This will avoid automatic approval of encroachment permits due to delays in receiving mail or responding to requests as staff transitions to a telework environment, and allow them to review all permit requests to ensure the activity will not pose a safety risk to the traveling public.

March 24th:

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the thirteenth since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7L enacts the following provisions:

  • Extends the cancellation of classes at public schools statewide through at least April 20:To promote and secure the safety and protection of children in schools related to the risks of COVID-19, the order extends the cancelation of classes at all public schools statewide through April 20, 2020. The governor notes that this date could possibly be extended further. Private schools and other non-public schools are encouraged to follow the same schedule.
  • Orders the early opening of the fishing season, effective immediately
  • Suspends restrictions on the re-employment of retired municipal employees: To enable municipalities to meet critical staffing needs caused by COVID-19 with skilled and experienced employees who require little to no additional training, the order modifies state statutes to allow certain retired employees who are in the municipal retirement system to work without any hourly or durational limitation while also continuing to receive retirement allowances.
  • Exacts flexibility to maintain adequate medical marijuana access for patients: The order modifies the state’s medical marijuana program to improve patient access and address staffing shortages in facilities. This includes permitting patients to be certified via telehealth; extending expiration dates for patient and caregiver registrations; allowing dispensary facility staff to move work locations among facilities and, with approval of the state, make adjustments to staffing ratios; and waiving the fee normally charged if someone loses or misplaces their registration certificate.
  • Extends the time period for nursing home transfers: The order extends the time allowed for an applicant to transfer from a nursing home where they were temporarily placed after their nursing home closed from sixty days after their arrival at the new facility to “not later than one year following the date that such applicant was transferred from the nursing home where he or she previously resided.”
  • Enacts flexibility in availability and registration of vital records:The order authorizes the Commissioner of Public Health to conduct birth, death and marriage registration, in order to assist local registrars of vital statistics in carrying out their duties as may be required, and to issue any implementing orders she deems necessary.
  • Suspends in-person purchase of copies of vital records at the Department of Public Health:The order suspends the requirement that the purchase of vital records at the Department of Public Health be available in person, and limits those requests to online or mail.
  • Modifies the requirement that marriage licenses be obtained in the town where the marriage will be celebrated:As municipal offices around the state are closed or have selective hours due to the COVID-19 crisis, the order permits those seeking a marriage license to obtain it in a different municipality than where it will be celebrated.

DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7L

March 23rd

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the twelfth since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7K enacts the following provisions:

  • Suspension of non-critical probate court operations and associated requirements: Suspends, for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency, all statutory reporting and filing requirements of the Office of the Probate Court Administrator concerning probate court operations; probate court facility, location, or venue requirements; time requirements, statutes of limitation or other limitations or deadlines relating to service of process, court proceedings, or court filings; and all time requirements or deadlines related to the probate courts or their judicial officials to issue notices, hold court, hear matters, and/or render decisions.
  • Suspension of non-critical Workers’ Compensation Commission operations and associated requirements: Suspends, for the duration of the public health and civic preparedness emergency, all location or venue requirements; time requirements, statutes of limitation, or other limitations or deadlines; and all time requirements or deadlines of the Workers’ Compensation Commission relating to the Workers’ Compensation Act and other statutory programs and schedules over which the commission provides adjudication, dispute resolution, administrative oversight or support.
  • Authorization of remote notarization: Modifies state laws and regulations to permit any notarial act that is required under Connecticut law to be performed using an electronic device or process that allows a notary public and a remotely located individual to communicate with each other under certain conditions, including recording and live presentation of identification.
  • Suspension or modification of regulatory requirements to protect public health and safety: Permits the commissioner of Public Health to temporarily waive, modify, or suspend regulatory requirements adopted by the agency or related boards or commissions deemed necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the public health.
  • Suspension of certain requirements regarding the temporary hire of care workers at long-term care facilities: Allows long-term care facilities to temporarily hire care workers to address the critical need in these facilities without background checks of state and national criminal history records, expanding the availability of an existing statutory waiver process.

**DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7K

March 22nd:

Governor Lamont signed another executive order – the tenth since he enacted the civic preparedness and public health emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7I enacts the following provisions:

  • Modifications to DSS benefits
    • Suspension of requirements that public assistance eligibility reinvestigations be conducted at least every 12 or 24 months
    • Suspension of copayments for full benefit dually eligible Medicare Part D beneficiaries
    • Suspension of copayments for HUSKY B clients
    • Suspension of limitations on refills of non-maintenance medications for HUSKY beneficiaries
  • Flexibility related to the Student Data Privacy Act
  • Modifications related to the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
    • Limits on visitation with children placed in the care and custody of DCF
    • Limits on visitors to facilities that treat children or youth with psychiatric disabilities
    • Waiver of in-person service, screening, and hearing requirements for facilities that have limited visitor access
  • Modifications to Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) regulations regarding pharmacies
    • Provides pharmacists the ability to refill non-controlled substance prescriptions for up to 30 days in the event they are unable to contact the prescribing practitioner
    • Provides the commissioner of DCP with the authority to waive pharmacy operation regulations
  • Suspension of requirements for corporations to hold shareholder meetings in-person
  • Procedural relief for municipalities
    • Extends additional budget adoption deadlines
    • Suspends the in-person budget adoption requirement for municipalities
    • Suspends the in-person budget adoption requirement for boards of education
    • Extends municipal deadlines and waiver of penalties related to municipal planning, assessment, and taxation
    • Suspends the in-person filing requirements related to municipal planning, assessment, and taxation
    • Suspends deadlines and makes modification to public hearing and appeals requirements for assessment and taxation
    • Extends new reporting requirements on properties
    • Suspends, modifies, and clarifies certain municipal procedural requirements and time limitations regarding notice, commencement, and holding of public hearings, decisions, and appeals, including land use and other municipal boards.

The governor is grateful for the assistance of the Connecticut Bar Association Land Use Section, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the Council of Small Towns, and the many local officials and attorneys who worked hard to put together the broad package of municipal procedural relief included in today’s order.

**DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7l

March 21st:

Governor Ned Lamont  announced yesterday that part of the ongoing civil preparedness and public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he is directing Connecticut residents to “Stay Safe, Stay at Home.”

Under today’s executive order, the governor is directing all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities in Connecticut to prohibit all in-person functions if they are able to, effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. The governor is encouraging all businesses to employ, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures that they can safely implement.

The order excludes any essential business or entity providing essential services or functions, such as healthcare, food service, law enforcement, and similar critical services.

The Office of the Governor is working in concert with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development to develop guidance for all businesses relating to this order. That guidance will be released over the weekend.

The governor is calling this his “Stay Safe, Stay Home” initiative. The plan recommends that state residents do the following:

  1. Effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 23, all non-essential businesses statewide should close;
  2. Non-essential public community gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason should be canceled (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time;
  3. If you must leave your home, do not travel in groups -groups must be limited to workers providing essential services;
  4. Everyone should keep at least six feet away from each other whenever possible;
  5. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services should implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
  6. Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
  7. Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders;
  8. Sick individuals should not leave their home except to fill critical needs or to receive medical care, and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
  9. Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations; and
  10. Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using soap and water, hand sanitizer, or isopropyl alcohol wipes. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds works best.

The businesses for which this order applies shall include, but not be limited to, the 16 critical infrastructure sectors as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which are available at www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors. For more information, refer to the text of the executive order.

**DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7H

March 20th:

On Thursday afternoon, Governor Lamont signed another executive order – the eighth since he enacted the civic preparedness and public health emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7G enacts the following provisions:

  • Postpones Connecticut’s presidential primary to June 2: Connecticut’s 2020 presidential primary had been scheduled for April 28. The decision to move the date was made in coordination with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and in consultation with other states that had a primary scheduled for the same date.
  • Suspends non-critical court operations and associated requirements: In close coordination and consultation with the Judicial Branch, the executive order suspends, for the duration of this public health and civil preparedness emergency, all statutory location or venue requirements; time requirements, statutes of limitation or other limitations or deadlines relating to service of process, court proceedings or court filings; and all time requirements or deadlines related to the courts’ obligations to issue notices, hold court, hear matters and/or render decisions.
  • Permits certain restaurants and other eating establishments to sell alcohol with take-out food orders under certain conditions: The order permits any business with an active restaurant, café or tavern liquor permit issued by the Department of Consumer Protection to sell sealed containers of alcoholic liquor for pick up at such restaurant, café or tavern under the following conditions: (i) the sale shall accompany a pick-up order of food prepared on the premises; (ii) the type of alcoholic liquor sold for off-premise consumption shall be the same as what the permit type would have permitted for on-premise consumption prior to Executive Order 7D, and (iii) the hours of such sales that include alcoholic liquor as part of the take-out order shall be the same as those for a package store. Delivery of alcoholic liquor by licensees with these permit types is not permitted. Businesses with manufacturing permits, such as craft breweries and similar establishments, may sell alcohol for off-premise consumption according to the existing terms of their permits.
  • Directs the temporary closure of barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors, and related businesses: Effective at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020, the order directs the temporary closure to the public of all establishments rendering services by barbers, hairdressers and cosmeticians, nail technicians, electrologists, estheticians, eyelash technicians, and tattoo and piercing providers, including, but not limited to, barbershops, beauty shops, hairdressing salons, nail salons, spas, kiosks, and tattoo or piercing establishments. The commissioner of Public Health may issue any order she deems necessary to implement or modify such prohibition.
  • Expands telehealth services for Connecticut residents: The order allows patients and healthcare providers, consistent with federal revisions to HIPAA, to communicate over a broad range of platforms. Those platforms can include audio-only telephone calls for patients and providers with a prior relationship. In addition, it allows patients to access out-of-state telehealth providers, allows commercial health insurers and Medicaid to cover telehealth services for all in-network providers, regardless of communication platform or the provider’s state of practice, and it allows providers to offer telehealth services from a location other than their licensed facility. Finally, the order also caps the amount providers availing themselves of this new flexibility may charge patients for telehealth services in Connecticut when providers are out-of-network or when patients are uninsured.
  • Suspends in-person investigative visits regarding reports of elder abuse: The order temporarily suspends the requirement for a state official conducting an investigation of elder abuse to perform an in-person visit to the elderly person and extends the time required to report the results of the investigation.
**DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7G

Connecticut now has 15 drive-through testing locations

In addition to the DPH State Laboratory, there are now 15 alternative locations throughout Connecticut that are offering drive-through testing. They include:

  • Bridgeport Hospital
  • Bristol Hospital
  • Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (Torrington)
  • Danbury Hospital
  • Greenwich Hospital
  • Hartford Hospital
  • Johnson Memorial Hospital (Stafford Springs)
  • Lawrence Memorial Hospital (New London)
  • Manchester Memorial Hospital
  • Mid-State Medical Center (Meriden)
  • Stamford Hospital
  • Saint Francis Hospital (Hartford)
  • Saint Mary’s Hospital (Waterbury)
  • Waterbury Hospital
  • Yale-New Haven Hospital

As a reminder, no individual should arrive at any of these locations and request to be tested. Anyone experiencing symptoms should consult with their medical provider, who will then refer them for testing.

Department of Transportation makes changes to bus operations to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is making several adjustments to its CTtransitand CTfastrak bus operations in order to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers. Effective immediately, passengers will board from the rear door with the exception of passengers in wheelchairs and others who require the bus to kneel. Additionally, approximately 100 CTtransit buses have been equipped with transparent, impermeable barriers providing a partition between drivers and passengers. Buses are operating on normal weekday and weekend schedules. CTtransit service updates can be found at www.cttransit.com. For more information on the bus adjustments, click here.

In other CTDOT news, the CTrail Hartford Line and Shore Line East train schedules have been reduced, and the Metro-North New Haven Line continues to maintain operations. Commuters should check www.hartfordline.comwww.shorelineeast.com, and www.mta.info/mnr for service updates.

Service plazas on I-95, I-395, and the Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways, as well as rest areas on I-91 and I-84 remain open for highway travelers. Take-out food is being served but visitors are being directed to purchase their items and remove them from the facilities to minimize any congregation of people. Rest area and service plaza facilities are continually being cleaned and sanitized. Highway maintenance projects are continuing as planned.

Banking Commissioner Perez reassures Connecticut residents on the safety of their deposits in financial institutions

Amid continuing volatility in the financial markets and an economy quickly slowing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Banking Commissioner Jorge Perez is reassuring Connecticut residents that their money is safe in banks and credit unions.

For more information on this, click here.

March 19th:

Governor Lamont announced that he has postponed the CT presidential primary to June 2nd. The decision was made in coordination with other states and our Secretary of the State, and in an effort to carry out Democracy while keeping public health a top priority.

Governor Ned Lamont, DECD Commissioner David Lehman, and DECD Deputy Commissioner, Glendowlyn Thames hosted a conference call sharing the state’s response to the economic components of the current crisis. Currently, there are over 40,000 unemployment claims in the state since last week, with 12,000 filed yesterday. The three speakers all discussed the initiatives the state is taking to help maintain the economy–DECD Commissioner David Lehman emphasized seven main initiatives the state is currently taking, listed below.

Resources for businesses can be found here: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Pages/Business-Resources

CT Unemployment FAQ – COVID-19

March 18th

Department of Administrative Services/Construction Services

These extraordinary times demand extra care to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Construction sites are, by design, concentrations of people.  As such we need to exercise practices to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our tradespeople, CMR and GC staff and their families.  Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines need to be incorporated into the daily routine of your workers to ensure their safety.  Social Distancing must be practiced, as well as the use of handwashing stations and hand sanitizing stations.  Dailey tool box safety briefs must include topics and updates on COVID – 19 protective measures and information.  Rely on your DAS Project Manager and the Construction Administrator for any questions, concerns or issues related to the jobsite, and COVID – 19 effects at the jobsite.

DAS wishes to continue with active construction projects as long as possible, but not at the risk of the life and safety of our contractors, their workers and their family and friends. If circumstances appear become beyond the control of the parties to protect all concerned, and jeopardize the health, safety and well-being of workers, staff and the general public, DAS will provide further direction and instructions to you.  In the meantime, please implement, if you have not already done so, the guidelines mentioned above immediately.

March 17th State Government Report

State higher ed chief Mark E. Ojakian announced Tuesday March 17th,  in-person classes through “at least” the end of the semester along with commencement exercises at all Connecticut’s state college and university system  are cancelled . Classes will take place online at least through the spring.   Text of his message

March 17th – Shutting Down Construction Projects Is An Unnecessary Step, Will Harm Economy & Undermine Recovery Efforts, Construction Officials