The COVID-19 pandemic has halted many municipalities and towns in Connecticut and few have yet to resume business as usual.
Although Connecticut is currently faring better than some harder-hit states, some local towns and cities are cautious to reopen to full capacity, nervous as to what the fall might bring.
Cheshire’s Town Manager Sean Kimball spoke to The Herald and provided an update as to what he and the rest of the town have been doing in order to keep Cheshire citizens safe.
“It’s been an incredibly challenging time, but we are all really fortunate to be in the position we are in when you see what is happening in some other places,” he said. “We’ve now shifted as a state to focusing on how we keep and maintain low infection rates while we try and reopen again.”
The Town has started to take steps towards normalcy, with plans regarding parks and playgrounds released last week, as well as a majority or restaurants and businesses slowly adjusting to their new normal.
“Generally speaking, Cheshire has been doing really well throughout this pandemic,” Kimball commented. “But we don’t want to put ourselves in great risk now that we’ve been able to get to this point.”
According to Kimball, all Town services, including the Cheshire Yellow House, Senior Center, and Artsplace are open at some capacity, with some businesses adding online courses and virtual gatherings to continue providing services to the community.
“The library just recently opened up again for book drop offs, and I know places like the Senior Center and Artsplace have moved a lot of their programming online,” he added. “Now the Town has shifted to focusing on schools and supporting whatever decision is made by the District.”
Kimball went on to explain that, at least for the fall, there will be no expected PPE shortage as long as the numbers of the infected stay relatively low.
“Currently, PPE is not in a high demand right now and we were able to replenish the stockpiles that were depleted in the spring,” Kimball added. “Chesprocott has been wonderful with their help and (Chesprocott Health District Director) Maura [Epsosito] and her team have really been amazing through all of this.”
At the last Town Council meeting, Chairman Rob Oris, along with a few other Republican members, expressed a desire to hold the next Council meeting in person, as long as appropriate social distancing measures can be followed.
“As long as the amount of people at the meeting doesn’t exceed 25, we can ideally have the meeting in person,” said Kimball. “What might be tricky is trying to get the community engaged in the meetings and the public hearings, which has been difficult to get going through the virtual meetings as well.”
Other committees, such as the Library Board and Energy Commission, have been able to meet in person as long as all involved ensure that meeting doesn’t exceed 25 attendees, according to Kimball.
Although the plans for the next in-person meeting are still being worked out, Kimball and the Council both agree that it will only be possible as long as everyone complies with the CDC and social distancing guidelines.
“People just really need to wear a mask,” lamented Kimball. “The numbers aren’t going down just as a coincidence; we’ve done some really good work to get here, and I hope we can keep that up.”