HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut businesses adapted to new social distancing guidelines Tuesday, and state lawmakers were planning to continue work on an assistance package for small companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak despite the postponement of the legislative session.
More than 400 people in Connecticut have tested positive for the virus, and 10 patients have died.
The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
A look at developments in Connecticut:
Small business owners were making adjustments on Tuesday, the first full day under an order by Gov. Ned Lamont that directs nonessential businesses to prohibit all in-person functions and urges people to stay home.
Bicycles East in Glastonbury remained open because repair shops are considered essential businesses. But they are not letting customers into the store.
Co-owner Deb Dauphinais said they are having people call from the parking lot and drop off and pick up their bikes using racks on the sidewalk out front. She said they instituted that policy because it was hard to practice social distancing inside.
“I was backing up a lot,” she said.
Hosmer Mountain Beverages was still delivering soda and bottled water to customers across eastern Connecticut. Bill Potvin, the 73-year-old co-owner of the company that started in 1912, said much of their business comes from restaurants and that has taken a huge hit.
“We sell a lot of the the syrup which goes into the machines to make the soda,” he said, “That part of the business is totally shut off. We haven’t sold a box in two weeks.”
Potvin said most of its employees are over 60 and he worries about them.
Dianne Weimer, co-owner of Park Hardware in Hartford, said she ordered construction-style dust masks for her staff weeks ago in anticipation of having to stay open should there be a health crisis.
She said most of her customers have been contractors, electricians, plumbers and other tradesmen not the general public. She said they have cut store hours to just five hours each day.
“We are down but we are trying our best in a crazy economy,” she said. “We never thought of this.”
The Republican leader of the Connecticut House of Representatives said state lawmakers still plan to come up with an assistance package, especially for small businesses impacted by the coronoavirus, despite Monday’s announcement the General Assembly’s business has been postponed until at least April 13.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said lawmakers have been working with Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont to include their ideas in his series of executive orders.
But if a bipartisan plan is crafted that requires large amounts of spending, she said legislators will have to return to Hartford to vote, with social distancing in mind.
“We’ll figure it out. That’s the least of my concern. Even if you bring 10 people in at once and just have everybody kind of on a time schedule, that’s an option, too.”
Lawmakers are currently investigating their options under the state’s rules and constitution. The regular session is scheduled to adjourn May 6.
The day after signing an executive order to keep Connecticut’s schools closed until April 20, Gov. Ned Lamont acknowledged Tuesday they’ll likely remain shuttered until the fall.
During a radio interview with WCBS 880, Lamont said April 20 was “the minimum” and schools probably won’t resume regular options for the rest of the current school year.
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