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5/14/2020 - 5.14 COVID-19 UPDATE
Dear Fairfielders,

I continue to be very proud of how our community has come together throughout this pandemic. The COVID-19 Relief fund has raised over $90,000 and the committee has awarded over $37,000 to residents in need of financial assistance. 

COVID CASES LOCAL AND STATE:
The most recently published data shows Connecticut has 34,855 positive cases, 3,125 deaths, and 1,158 hospitalizations. Fairfield County has 13,636 confirmed cases and 1,068 deaths.

The Town of Fairfield has 502 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and a total of 91 of our residents have lost their lives. My prayers continue to be with those families who have lost a loved one during this difficult time.

Of the 502 residents who have tested positive in Fairfield, 199 have reported that they have fully recovered. We have seen a decrease in hospitalizations for Connecticut and Fairfield County for 20 of the last 21 days. Charts and data on Fairfield cases including age, gender, nursing home statistics, testing samples and different trend lines can be found at fairfieldct.org/covid19data.

REOPENING TASK FORCE:
The Town's goal is to provide guidance and assistance for businesses to reopen safely for their customers and their employees. We are working with our businesses to ensure they are following the protocols and safety guidelines established by the CDC and Health Department and we encourage our residents to support our business community by complying with these guidelines. I have brought together many of our Town departments to identify how we can help businesses navigate through this process and cut through the normal governmental red tape. Below in this email are links with more information on the state's reopening protocols and local procedures. 

As the Governor continues to release guidelines through Executive Order, my administration and I will continue to meet and share those with our business community. For example we are directly working with our restaurant owners to assist with expanding their outdoor footprint so they can serve more customers during this difficult economic time. Today we hosted conference calls with our retail shops and salons. I will continue do whatever I can to help our local businesses. 

The town has given out over 7,200 face masks to local businesses and we have compiled a list of local suppliers of PPE and other safety materials that may be necessary for businesses to reopen safely. Any one running a business in our town who hasn't already reached out and needs assistance can do so by contacting our Economic Development Department

I have received many inquiries on summer camp programs and I understand the need for child care for many families. We have been provided with very strict protocols by the State of Connecticut that included many restrictions and will require an extraordinary amount of careful planning by the Town. We are still assessing if we would be able to provide a camp experience under these stringent guidelines. The Park and Recreation Department sent out a survey to determine how many families would utilize these services so the Town can determine how best to move forward. This is a very challenging issue that requires careful planning and attention to detail. We will continue to provide information as it becomes available. 

ADDITIONAL REOPENINGS:
The parking lot at Penfield Beach will now be open and at 50% capacity starting this Saturday, May 16th at 8:00 a.m. The beaches remain open to Fairfield residents for walking and passive recreation only with a 2020 beach sticker or receipt proving purchase. 

The slides outlining current guidelines for public spaces are 
linked below or you can visit fairfieldrecreation.com.

TOWN OPERATIONS:
While many towns have suspended services or closed their doors, our town government continues to deliver meals, provide social services, issue permits, licenses, real estate transactions, beach stickers, and DPW is in full operation. I thank all of our Town employees for their cooperation and positive attitudes and our residents for their patience in adapting to new protocols. I am proud of our employees for continuing services to residents during this challenging time. Everything is a little more difficult but we have proven it is not impossible. This week we met with each Department Head to assess our current operations and prepare to have our town employees who have been working remotely return to the building. We will do this with the same cautious approach we have applied to all our decision making throughout this pandemic. 


RESOURCES:
I hope you will browse through various information and resources below that can be helpful to our residents and businesses to navigate challenges as a result of the pandemic. There are several new announcements for businesses and updates from Social Services and the Bigelow Senior Center. 

Thank you all for doing your part to keep our community safe. We're in this together!


Sincerely,

Brenda L. Kupchick
First Selectwoman
Click the image below to view the slides outlining town policies
BEACHES- KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Check the parking lot capacity and status online at fairfieldct.org/parkingcapacity

Beach Passes: Residents who had a beach sticker previously automatically have an online account, even if you always applied in person. You may not know your user name and password which Park & Recreation can help provide you. The department has 6 phone lines and employees are working hard to keep up with the demand.  You can email them here: recsupport@fairfieldct.org  

If you purchased a beach sticker but haven't yet received it, we are allowing residents to show your email receipt which contains your license plate for admittance to the beaches. 
The Fairfield COVID-19 Relief Fund was established to provide limited, one-time assistance to Fairfield residents who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Use of the funds must be directly related to the effects of the virus. Donate to the fund or apply for relief by visiting www.fairfieldct.org/covidrelieffund 
Donate or Apply to the Fairfield COVID-19 Relief Fund
BIGELOW CENTER AND SOCIAL SERVICES 
The Bigelow Center will be closed until September 1, 2020. The decision to close the center was made with a considerable amount of thought and care by First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick, Health Director Sands Cleary, and the entire Emergency Planning team, in an effort to protect one of our most vulnerable populations, the Seniors of Fairfield. Seniors, and especially ones with medical conditions, are at highest risk of virus complications and hospitalizations. The decision on when to reopen will be revisited in August.

We understand the inconvenience this will cause members and the public, but know that your best interests and health were taken into consideration. All activities, programs, transportation and trips are cancelled. Please note that meals for those who are unable to cook or get to the market, and Senior Grocery bags, provided by the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging, will continue to be delivered by Senior Center staff and CERT volunteers. Transportation for medical appointments and grocery shopping will resume when advised by the Health Director that those services are safe to resume for Seniors.

Social Services continues to assist by telephone town residents who are experiencing difficulty providing the basic needs for themselves and their families, especially during these unprecedented times. 

Bigelow Center and Social Services staff is available by phone during normal business hours to answer your questions and provide further guidance on available resources for seniors during this Public Health Emergency. The Senior Center phone number is 203-256-3166 and Fairfield Social Services can be reached at 203-256-3170. 


Bigelow Center: May Newslette

Tax Prep Assistance: 
VITA Tax Prep Assistance is available to Fairfield residents
. Many of you had appointments to have your taxes done at the Center this year. 2-1-1 of Connecticut has made available Virtual VITA Tax Help. The  Virtual VITA Tax Program is available for individuals who generally make $56,000 or less; persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in prepared their tax returns. Click here to be directed to 2-1-1 of Connecticut for more information. 

The US Tax filing deadline extended to July 15 due to COVID-19. 

VITA is offering free virtual tax preparation to residents without in-person contact.  The site and requisite document exchange mechanisms are encrypted for safety, and the methodology conforms to IRS policy and procedures. Go to: Free Tax Preparation Service Online

The IRS announced a sweeping series of steps to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions for those facing challenges related to COVID-19 IRS Tax Relief
SOCIAL SERVICES
We're all feeling anxious about the coronavirus, concerned about isolation, worried about our jobs and our families. Just remember: Social distancing doesn't have to mean social isolation! In fact, staying engaged with others is the best way to manage the stress, focus on positives, and worry less--even while "hunkering down" at home. Social distancing should not mean social isolation, and talking with people you trust about your feelings is very useful for managing stress. If you are feeling anxious or fearful right now, you are not alone.  Stress can manifest in a variety of ways, and it is important to pay attention to how you are feeling, mentally and physical, and recognize when you are feeling stressed or anxious.      

FEELING IN CRISIS? When you're feeling overwhelmed, know that there are free options to help you talk through your crisis--and to send help when necessary. Fairfield Social Services is here to help. Call 203-256-3170 for more information. For additional resources, please click on The Hub: Behavioral Health Action Organization of  Southwestern Connecticut to view services and assistance available to you during this challenging time.

Being a parent or caregiver during this crisis can be extremely stressful.  It is perfectly normal to be experiencing varying emotions and feel overwhelmed.  No matter what you're feeling, we're here to listen.  Parents and caregivers can call the toll-free Talk It Out line to discuss their feelings in a judgement-free environment. Call: 1-833-258-5011 or Visit: www.talkitoutct.com 

The CT Young Adult Warm Line (855.6-HOPENOW or 855.467.3669)  is open from 12-9 p.m every day, with 18-25 years old specialists trained in peer support who have dealt with mental health or substance issues. 

The Soundview Warm Line (800.921.0359) is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week for any age. We are in this together, and help is always available.  If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. 

Mental Health & Substance Use Help is available: During this pandemic, it is important to make sure we take care of our mental health as well as our physical health.  Fears surrounding illness and loved ones as well as the disruption to the normal routine may impact or be impacted by your mental health.  This is an especially challenging time for those struggling with substance use.  The DCF website has a detailed list of resources for dealing with mental health and substance use, some of which are below.  In an emergency, always call 9-1-1. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  Call: 1-800-273-8255; Text: Crisis Text Line (741741)
TrevorLifeLine serves LGBTQ+ youth  Call: 1-800-488-7386 ; Text: 678678  
2-1-1 can help connect you to a mental health professional
AddictionResource has information on free addiction counseling as well as a confidential drug hotline.  Call: Free & Confidential Drug Hotline (888-915-8128). Chat/Visit: addictionresource.com 
BUSINESS: 
May 20th Reopen CT Guidance: In response to Governor Lamont's Reopen CT Initiative for May 20th, we have provided you with links to the State guidance to help make this transition as smoothly as possible. 

Hair Salons and Barbershops

Museums and Zoos (Outdoor Only)

Offices

Restaurants (Outdoor Only)

Retail and Malls

More Information

In addition, here is Fairfield specific permit and guidance:

Temporary Tent and Patio Permit

Temporary Outdoor Seating Guidelines

Before your business can open your doors, you must self-certify that you are following strict safety guidelines to keep your employees and customers safe. The certification course can be found here. 

For more information on state and federal support for businesses, click here. The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the Federal CARES Act, click here

Paycheck Protection Program: The Paycheck Protection Program is a lifeline for businesses to keep employees on the payroll.  You can find more information about federal and state programs on the state’s coronavirus website.
LOCAL TAXES
Tax Deferment: Any real estate, motor vehicle, personal property or sewer taxes that became due on April 1st will not be considered delinquent if paid by July 1st. Also, all taxes that become due on July 1st will not be considered delinquent if paid by October 1st. Please note that Fairfield landlords can learn more about how to qualify by contacting the tax collector's office. For anyone with questions, please click here or call 203.256.3100.

Senior & Disabled Tax Relief both the State and Town Programs: The Governor issued Executive Order 7S which includes a provision to eliminate the refiling requirement for those applicants due to refile this year. If you were due to refile this year, you were notified by mail in February. As a result of this Executive Order, you are no longer required to come into our office to refile. In addition we mailed a postcard to those that do not need to reapply on April 16,2020 as confirmation.

If you are seeking benefits for the first time you will need to apply. Please contact the office at 203-256-3110 and we will work with you on submitting the required documentation.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
If you become unemployed due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you should file for unemployment benefits. Click here for more information. For frequently asked questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) for workers and employers click here.
MORTGAGE RELIEF
The state has provided a FAQ which is a resource to help answer many of your questions about unemployment, mortgage relief and more. Please read it here. The Governor provided information on mortgage payment relief with over 50 credit unions and banks to help residents and businesses impacted by COVID-19. Participating financial institutions are now offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days.

All landlords are prohibited from issuing a notice to quit or beginning eviction proceedings before July 1, 2020, except for serious nuisance, such as physically harming another tenant or the landlord. For rent due in April 2020, landlords must grant tenants an automatic, 60-day grace period for payment, instead of the existing 9-day grace period. 
Read more. 
COVID-19 TESTING
 CVS has expanded their drive thru testing to include 12 new sites in CT. These new sites will utilize self-swab tests and will be available to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, in addition to age guidelines. Learn more here.  

At this time, testing priority is given to those who are high risk. For more information on testing sites and protocols click here or visit www.fairfieldct.org/covid19. 
OPERATION HOPE FOOD PANTRY 
Operation Hope wants to make sure residents of Fairfield are aware that the food pantry remains open and is ready to help by providing food and other basic needs to community residents, as they have for nearly 35 years. The pantry is currently operating as a drive-up service at 636 Old Post Road offering prepacked bags of groceries appropriate for various sized households. 

The hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10:00-12:00; Thursday from 4:00 -6:00. Emergency bags can be provided during off hours between 9:00 and 4:00 in special cases. All that’s required for your first visit is a valid drivers license/proof of residency. 
FAIRFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY: OPEN ONLINE
Did you know the Fairfield Library has digital resources, instant cards and can answer questions remotely? They also have virtual programs. Follow them on
 Facebook or visit their website!

Sign up for the library newsletter here
PEQUOT LIBRARY: WE'RE HERE, WE CARE 
Pequot Library's doors may be temporarily closed, but our librarians and staff are still here for you! Enjoy digital programs like story times, author talks, book clubs, and more! Get details on our website and social media: 
FacebookInstagramTwitterand YouTubeSign up for Pequot Library's Digital Digest eNewsletter or contact our Chief Librarian for personalized book recommendations. 
FISHING LICENSES
Fishing licenses may be purchased online through the State of CT DEEP Portal. Click here.
DOG LICENSING 
Dogs six months of age or older must be licensed before July 1st each year. Licensing begins June 1st.  Licenses must be purchased through the mail. Here is a link to the application

Reminder postcards will be mailed at the end of May. If you do not have any changes (updated rabies/spay or neutering certificates) just send your postcard, check and self-addressed stamped envelope to the Town Clerk’s Office, 611 Old Post Rd., Fairfield CT 06824.
PUBLIC SAFETY REQUESTS
In an Emergency, please Dial 911. Our Police and Fire Departments remain fully staffed, ready and able to respond to any emergency.

For non-emergency complaints or requests for service, please utilize the phone numbers below:
Police: (203) 254-4800
Fire: (203) 254-4700
2020 CENSUS
While you are home, to please complete the 2020 Census. We need your participation.  You can complete it online, on the phone or by mail. Click here to find out how
 Sign up for CODE RED ALERTS   
 
TOWN GOVERNMENT
Each department will have new guidelines as to how you can reach them on various services. Please visit this summary page for an overview and follow links to specific departments for more information. 
Fairfield's Operations During COVID-19
HELP FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
The Center for Family Justice closed its main Bridgeport offices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but staff is now working remotely to serve clients in crisis. 

The hotline numbers are:
Domestic Violence: 203-384-9559
Sexual Violence: 203-333-2233
Spanish Hotline: 888-568-8332

Important COVID-19 Links:

Fairfield Health Department coronavirus website:  fairfieldct.org/covid19

For the latest numbers of cases, deaths and those recovered click here

For additional data and graphs of activity click here

For guidance and updates on Connecticut’s coronavirus preparedness efforts, visit: ct.gov/coronavirus

Contact Information:

For general questions you can call 211

Hartford HealthCare’s COVID-19 Clinical Command Center hotline, staffed by healthcare professionals, is now available to the community. To reach the 24-hour hotline, call 860.972.8100 or (toll-free) 833.621.0600.

YNHH has a call center number it’s 1-833-ASK YNHH that’s open from 7am - 7pm.

For additional information and prevention tips, refer to the Health Department website at: www.fairfieldct.org/health or the Fairfield homepage under news at www.fairfieldct.org.
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