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Lamont on reopening CT: So far, so good, but casinos still ‘a concern’

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Six days into Phase 1 of reopening the state, the picture in Connecticut is good, at least on an anecdotal basis.

So said Gov. Ned Lamont at his daily briefing this afternoon. However, he noted, disagreement with the tribal owners over their planned June 1 reopening continues.

 

Most people availing themselves of the state’s parks, beaches, retailers and outdoor dining facilities are observing the established social distancing and COVID-19 mitigating measures, Lamont said.

“So far I think people are taking it seriously,” he said. “Some aren’t, and we’re paying attention to that.”

Also on hand were West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, both of whom agreed with the governor. “We have had to talk to (some) people,” Cantor acknowledged, saying that both her town’s police and public health departments had received calls from residents concerned about various violations.

Cantor said violators had received “strong requests” to comply rather than being assessed with an infraction.

Camillo said Greenwich is looking into how to accommodate restaurants with no outdoor dining options by using otherwise vacant fields or parking lots, without exposing the town to questions about liability. “It will take some creativity and probably some waivers,” he said, adding that discussions are continuing with various stakeholders.

The first selectman also said that “we’re seeing a lot of New York (license) plates,” but whether those cars mostly represent out-of-state diners, people looking to buy or rent in Greenwich, or simply Greenwich residents with cars registered in New York was difficult to ascertain.

Casinos sticking with June 1
A team made up of Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull, Department of Economic and Community Development David Lehman and Department of Public Health (DPH)/Social Services Commissioner Deidre Gifford visited the Mohegan Sun casino today, and will do the same at Foxwoods “at a later date,” according to Lamont Chief of Staff Paul Mounds.

connecticut casino tribal gaming pactThose visits are part of the governor’s efforts at reaching an accord with the casinos’ tribal nation owners over their planned June 1 reopening – a date Lamont again called “too early, and I think our neighboring governors all agree. Delaying by a couple of weeks can make a world of difference.”

After their visits and observations of the casinos’ virus mitigating efforts, the team will present recommendations to the governor. Asked if those could include revoking their liquor licenses, or having DPH personnel on hand to warn of the health risks the public might face by entering the casinos, Lamont said, “I don’t think it will come to that. We have good, strong relationships.”

He noted, however, that Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo had told him that, should Connecticut’s casinos open on June 1, those in her state and in Massachusetts would have little choice but to follow. Lamont also said that June 1 is earlier than Las Vegas plans to open its casinos – though he did not mention that that date is tentatively June 4.

State statistics
Connecticut has now conducted 225,362 tests – equal to about 6.5% of the state’s population, Lamont said – and recorded 41,303 positive cases, with hospitalizations down since yesterday by 12 to 694, while deaths increased by 27 to 3,769.

Fairfield County now has recorded 15,355 positive cases and 1,231 deaths. Hospitalizations dropped by 8 from yesterday to 225.

Bridgeport has the most positive COVID-19 cases in the state, with 3,270, followed by Stamford (3,096), New Haven (2,376), Hartford (2,169), Norwalk (1,979), Waterbury (1,829), Danbury (1,714), West Haven (1,022), Hamden (931), New Britain (925), Greenwich (779) and Stratford (777).

The numbers
As of this writing, there are over 1.67 million positive cases and more than 98,500 virus-related deaths in the U.S., with over 359,000 recovered. Globally, there are over 5.5 million positive cases and more than 348,000 deaths, with just about 2.67 million recovered.

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