What’s next? Crowd limits at state parks, supermarkets?
The state has encouraged social distancing, ordered “non-essential” businesses to keep employees home, closed restaurants to diners and asked people over 70 to stay in their homes as much as possible.
In the fight against the coronavirus, what could be next?
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and the leaders of the adjacent states of New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have continued to take incremental steps, sometimes within hours or days of each other, that stop short of a total shutdown.
With California ordering the closure of state park and beach parking lots this week, and the Massachusetts governor now exploring the possibility of crowd control in supermarkets, those venues could be the locations of further restrictions as the public health crisis deepens.
It was clear last weekend that crowds found Connecticut state parks, whether or not they kept a proper physical distance from others.
And throngs are flocking to supermarkets and big box stores, prompting concerns from the industry that customers are not observing physical distance requests of six feet health officials say are required to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Wayne Pesce, president of the Connecticut Food Association, representing supermarkets in the state, said Tuesday he has submitted guidelines for state lawmakers to consider and pass them on to shoppers, including requirements that consumers obey the six-foot distance, for the safety of themselves and workers.
“Most people don’t know about social distancing,” Pesce said in a Tuesday interview. He said that the public needs to be better informed about the need to physically remove themselves from others by at least six feet. “We have a panic-buying surge issue,” he said, stressing that the supply chain is not a problem and if an item is off the shelves one day, it’s likely to be back the next.
“As we implement new social distancing policies in stores we need customers to understand they have a part to play too,” Pesce said. “We’re all in this together.”
Mayors and first selectman throughout the state have been closing local parks because of the seeming inability of residents to observe physical distancing. The latest city to announce a ban was Derby on Tuesday, joining Seymour, Ansonia and Oxford in closing local parks until further notice, Mayor Richard Dziekan said. However the Derby Greenway, a paved promenade along the Housatonic and Naugatuck rivers from Derby to Ansonia, will remain open for the time being.
On Monday, Lamont announced that he has asked the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which operates the state parks, to consider some restriction on vehicular access, particular after a warm early spring Saturday brought people out in droves.
· Managers along with all store associates are being trained on social distancing techniques & general health best practices. These communications have become are part of daily management routines. Stores are adhering to CDC recommended guidelines.
Golden hours for customers 60+ every day. Many retailers are offering special hours for older customers or customers with weakened immune systems one or two days per week. Two of our states largest retailers are making this option available seven days a week to help reduce crowds and help our most vulnerable customers practice social distancing while shopping.
Online fulfillment: retailers have a substantial infrastructure in place for order and delivery of groceries. We are increasing those capabilities across the state’s entire supply chain, and this is helping reduce the number of customers coming into stores.
Closed all in-store cafes and seating areas. These areas are closed in order to prevent customers from gathering and sitting closely to one another.
Placing store signage that requests single-family shopping trips during peak hours.
Many stores are installing clear plastic guards at registers. Because the register area doesn’t allow for the cashier and customer to maintain a distance of 6 feet apart per CDC guidelines, plexiglass guards are being added for additional protection in one of the most vulnerable areas of the store.
Whenever possible, we are opening only every other register lane to create further distancing between customers at checkout instead of opening lanes right next to each other.
Beginning this week, we'll have signage in stores that reminds customers to stand at least 6 feet apart from others, plus other guidelines from the CDC. Those signs will be placed at every register, on front doors, and in many places throughout the store, including the deli and pharmacy. · Beginning this week, many retailers will have tape on the floors at each register so customers understand the 6-foot distance they should keep from others. The length of a standard shopping cart creates natural spacing for “Social Distancing”
· Require customers who use reusable bags to bag their own groceries. Remind customers to wash reusable bags and totes after each use and to store bags and totes in a clean, cool and dry location.
· Store associates are wiping down and disinfecting shopping cart handles as often as needed throughout the day.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week ordered that parking lots at state parks and beaches would be closed because of the unacceptable crowding that threatened public health.
Tuesday afternoon, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters that he wants to keep state parks open, but he is seeking new guidelines from his attorney general on how to possibly limit crowds in supermarkets, one of the few venues seemingly left wide open in the first weeks of the pandemic.
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