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Gov. Ned Lamont (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT – Days after announcing mortgage relief for homeowners, Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order to protect residential renters from eviction if they can’t pay their rent.

The executive order requires landlords to grant tenants an automatic, 60-day grace period for payment for April and May, instead of the existing 90-day grace period. Tenants must notify the landlord that they have lost a job, lost hours, or lost revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked if there was any relief available for landlords, Lamont’s Chief of Staff Paul Mounds Jr.  said there was mortgage relief for landlords and various property owners in previous executive orders. 

The executive order also requires restaurants, bars, retail stores, gyms, and amusement parks to remain closed until May 20.

Lamont acknowledged the pushback he’s getting now for continuing to keep the state closed to socialization.

“This silent enemy doesn’t just surrender,” Lamont said.

He said the virus has something to do “with how we end this war and what timing we have.”

He said strict social distancing, expanded testing, and the developments of a vaccine will all play a factor in when Connecticut’s economy reopens for business.

“This is a war that’s never won. It’s a war we have to figure out how to wind it down in the safest way possible,” Lamont said. “Now is no time to take your foot off the accelerator. Now is no time to relax the social distancing.”

He said he thinks it’s ironic that the restaurants would be asking to reopen at the same time as the Centers for Disease Control is asking everyone to wear a mask in public.

Lamont said his decisions are based on public health and he will continue to make them based on that.

“We’re never going to get this economy going again if we don’t do it on a safe basis,” Lamont said.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said Lamont seems to be done with his collaborative approach to governing during this time.

“Over time, your authority has become more broad and your strategy less collaborative,” Fasano said in a letter. “Your latest executive order does not reflect any collaboration with legislative leaders. This shift in the process cannot go unaddressed.”

Fasano added that he’s also concerned that some of Lamont’s recent executive orders exceed his emergency powers.

Earlier in the day, Lamont said he felt like he was still being collaborative.

“This has been a nonpartisan pandemic,” Lamont said. “I’ve really been proud that the legislative leaders in this building have been working arm in arm.”

He said they’ve had strong communication on a regular basis and believe they are on the right track to get the economy going “with a first priority on public safety.”

“Gov. Lamont will continue to collaborate with members of the General Assembly, especially legislative leadership, as he has since the outset, and our state will get through this unprecedented emergency by working together,” Lamont’s spokesman Max Reiss said Friday night.

The General Assembly needs a two-thirds majority vote to change the rules of the legislative session to operate virtually. There’s been no indication they are looking to make this happen.

As of Friday afternoon, more than 10,500 residents have tested positive and 448 have died.

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Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Friday, April 10, 2020