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Gov. Ned Lamont talks about the executive order (ctnewsjunkie photo)

HARTFORD, CT – “Stay safe. Stay at home.” That’s what Gov. Ned Lamont is ordering all Connecticut residents to do in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The executive order Lamont signed Friday mandates all workers – except for those who work at grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and other essential businesses like utilities and manufacturers – to stay at home. It also allows package stores and restaurants that offer takeout to remain open, too.

If there are any questions about whether a business is essential the Department of Economic and Community Development will issue guidance no later than 8 p.m. Sunday, March 22.

Childcare, banking, shipping services, landscapers, and defense industry workers are also considered essential, according to the order.

Lamont’s order follows a similar one instituted earlier in the day by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo also banned gatherings of any size for any reason.

“Having a big party is a really dumb thing to do,” Lamont said.

He said his order would be enforced by municipal police, but he declined to say if there would be any fines associated with violating the order.

“If you’re on your way to Pratt & Whitney you’re not going to get pulled over by a police officer unless you’re going 75 mph,” Lamont said. “No fines for individuals. We’re going to work on this on a community-by-community basis.”

Lamont said there could be fines for non-essential retailers who remain open.

Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief operating officer, said things like auto repair shops and hardware stores are to remain open because they could be essential for a healthcare worker who needs to get to work.

As of Friday, 194 Connecticut residents had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and four have died. A total of 40 people have been hospitalized and 2,300 people have been tested.

The state’s fourth fatality was a woman in her 80s who had been living in her private home in Norwalk. She died while being treated for COVID-19 at Norwalk Hospital.

Connecticut is working to boost its number of hospital beds, which currently stands at around 8,540. About 63% of those beds are occupied on any given day. 

Connecticut’s congressional delegation said it’s only a matter of days before Connecticut hospitals run out of the personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves, they need to do their jobs safely.

On March 11, the state requested 250,000 each of N95 respirator face masks, surgical masks, surgical gowns, non-sterile gloves and disposable face shields to protect hospital workers. The first shipment is expected to include 34,383 N95 respirators, 81,906 face masks, and 45,277 gloves.

He said asking people to stay at home and away from each other is the most important thing they can do to reduce the demand on hospitals.

Once the state receives the equipment a distribution strategy has been developed.  The equipment will be distributed by the National Guard in collaboration with the Department of Public Health.

Lamont asked that any construction or utility workers who have personal protective gear to donate it to the hospitals.

Connecticut’s order is similar to the one in New York where there are more than 5,700 cases of the coronavirus.

Connecticut’s order will go into effect at 8 p.m. Monday, March 23 and runs through April 22, unless extended by the governor.

Gov. Ned Lamont holds briefing on COVID-19.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Friday, March 20, 2020