CT Shoreline towns roll out coronavirus-related restrictions

Guilford Town Hall

As the coronavirus threat worsens, towns along the Connecticut Shoreline — including Guilford, Madison and North Branford — have rolled out restrictions meant to curb the spread of disease.

Those measures include library closures, event cancellations and limiting public access to town offices.

All have declared local civil preparedness emergencies, giving each municipality’s chief executive officer more decision-making power. It’s a move that’s meant to quicken local response to the virus.

Here’s what else you need to know about the steps each town has taken.

Guilford has closed its public library and community center, according to First Selectman Matt Hoey.

The community center closure affects dozens of seniors in town who participate in a meals program, Hoey said. Mindful of the impact the cancellation will have, Guilford Interfaith Volunteers is working to increase Meals on Wheels service, according to Hoey.

Hoey encouraged anyone who wishes to volunteer to contact the organization at 203-453-8359.

Some 20 new volunteers came forward over the weekend, he said.

As of Wednesday, the town had not closed its offices but was encouraging residents to conduct business via email or phone when possible, and only go to Town Hall when absolutely necessary, Hoey said. He also instituted social distancing measures for staff, he said.

Guilford canceled any meetings “not of a regulatory, statutory or fiduciary nature,” according to a release from the first selectman’s office.

The town is working to broadcast the meetings that will be held so residents can view them at home, Hoey said.

For more updates specific to Guilford, visit the town’s website.

Guilford’s next-door neighbor has taken similar measures.

Madison has, for example, canceled all non-essential meetings, according to Lauren Rhines, town services coordinator. Only the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Board of Education and Zoning Board of Appeals will continue to meet, she said.

The town also has closed its offices to the public except by appointment, asking residents to call or email where possible, according to a release from First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons, who is issuing regular online updates on the situation.

Madison also closed its Senior Center, town gym, Surf Club, Memorial Town Hall, arts barn and Bauer classroom, and canceled all related programs and events, Lyons announced in another release.

In a Wednesday announcement, Trent Joseph, who heads the health department, directed all massage therapists and businesses in the cosmetic industry, such as hair and nail salons, to cease operations indefinitely.

“COVID 19 is spread mainly from person-to-person contact. The nature of your profession puts you in direct contact with your clients and customers,” he advised.

North Branford was the first of the three towns to declare a state of emergency, doing so Friday in a move meant to ensure the procurement of resources from the federal government, town officials said.

The town is focused on obtaining personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, to prevent first responders such as EMTs and police officers from being exposed to the virus, Town Manager Mike Paulhus said Tuesday.

The municipality also closed Town Hall to the public, asking that residents who need assistance on crucial matters call 203-484-6000, according to an online release.

The town also is limiting possible coronavirus exposure by canceling unnecessary meetings, such as Tuesday’s public hearing on the Police Department building project, another release said. It closed Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting to the public, Paulhus said.

The North Branford Food Pantry will be open to registered guests from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, but will subsequently close for at least two weeks, per the release.

Other updates specific to North Branford can be found online.

Connecticut Media Group