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Capitol Update: Halloween Public Health Guidance and More

Posted on October 31, 2020 by admin


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Please see below for a few updates regarding the following items:

  • Public Health Guidance for Halloween
  • Updated Travel Advisory
  • Mental Health Resources for Kids
  • Assistance for Small Businesses
  • Assistance for Workers
  • Voting Information

Public Health Guidance for Halloween

Today is Halloween and it is always a fun celebration for our youngest residents and their parents. With the ongoing public health crisis, we have had to reassess our traditional fall activities. As such, trick-or-treating has been deemed a high-risk activity by public health officials, but they have provided recommendations for safer, alternative ideas to celebrate this holiday.

House Republicans have created a useful Halloween resource page where you can find guidance from the state Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of the highlights are:

From the CDC:

  • Do not use a costume mask as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face.
  • Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask as it makes it harder to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • The CDC also recommends participating in lower risk activities. Click here for a list of low, moderate, and high risk Halloween activities.

From the DPH:

The DPH has also provided ideas for alternative activities. If you plan to participate in trick-or-treating, guidance includes:

  • One-way trick-or-treating where goodie bags or a large bowl of candy are placed outside of your home for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance.
  • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
  • For people who choose to hand out candy: Before you answer the door, make sure your face covering is in place over your nose and mouth, and wash or sanitize your hands before answering the door.
  • Remain six feet from the Trick-or-Treater.
  • Place the candy inside the child’s bag for them instead of having them take it from the bowl themselves.
  • Homes providing candy may set up hand sanitizer stations outside or parents/guardians can pack a travel bottle of their own.
  • Parents/guardians should limit the number of homes their children visit.
  • It is not recommended to trick-or-treat with people outside of your household.
  • Remain six feet away from people outside your household at all times.
  • All trick-or-treating participants should wear a mask or face covering while outside at all times.

Read more from DPH: Click Here

Updated Travel Advisory

As of October 27, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania have been added to the tri-state travel advisory created by Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. While Rhode Island and New Jersey meet metrics to be included on the list, they are now exempt from the list following the governor’s latest executive order (EO No. 9I), which makes an exception for the neighboring states of New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

Here are the states that are NOT on the list:

  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Vermont
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Washington

For more information about the tri-state advisory, including a full list of states with a high infection rate, please click here. The map below also displays the states that are on the list (in red), as well as those that are not (in green).

Mental Health Resources for Children

To help children cope with the mental and emotional challenges they may be facing during these uncertain times, Connecticut Children’s Hospital has created a Behavioral Health Kit, which includes the following resources:

  • Discussing youth suicide
  • What your child needs to get through tough times
  • Signs of depression/anxiety, and what to do
  • Strategies to help children manage stress
  • Calming exercises for kids
  • Anger, sorrow, stress, and grief in teens
  • Free, confidential support for families experiencing domestic violence
  • Managing family stress during COVID-19
  • How to support children on the autism spectrum
  • How to address children struggling with germaphobia during the pandemic
  • How to assemble coping toolboxes for children dealing with anxiety
  • Pediatric behavioral health contact information

Small Business Assistance

Governor Lamont and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) have announced a new program, CT CARES, which is available to small businesses and nonprofits affected by COVID-19. Organizations with fewer than twenty employees or those with a 2019 payroll less than $1.5 million will be eligible to receive a one-time $5,000 grant.

$50 million from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund will be used for the program, which will be administered by DECD. The grant may be used for payroll, rent, utilities, inventory, purchase of machinery or equipment, or costs associated with compliance of the state’s reopening plans.

Applications will be accepted beginning in November and funds are expected to be distributed by the end of December.

For more information, read the governor’s press release or visit DECD’s web portal.

Assistance for Workers

Governor Lamont is allocating $15 million from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund to help displaced workers gain access to job training programs within in-demand fields. These fields include healthcare, IT, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, financial services, construction, and more. Below are the recipient organizations of these funds:

  • Workforce Alliance
  • Capital Workforce Partners
  • The Eastern Workforce Investment Board
  • The Workplace
  • The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board
  • The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT)
  • Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
  • The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood

Click here to read more.

Voting Information

As we approach Election Day, November 3, here is some information that will help you prepare to vote, including deadlines, registration, ballots, and polling center locations.

  • If you are not registered to vote, you may do so on Election Day. This cannot be done at a polling place, but rather at a separate location (one per town) beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3. A list of registration locations may be found here.
  • Sample ballots for each town, including Darien and Norwalk, may be found here. This will help you familiarize yourself with the ballot format prior to voting.
  • Once you are registered, and if you plan to vote in person, click here to find your polling center location. Polling centers are open between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Those voting by absentee ballot may click here to check on the status of their ballot.

When in public, please remember to wear your mask to the polls and to social distance.