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New Haven Mayor Not So Sure About May Reopening Date

New Haven Mayor Not So Sure About May Reopening Date

New Haven Register, May 14, 2020

By Mary O'Leary

It was a simple inquiry. “Do you think Connecticut is ready to open on May 20?”

That question was put to Mayor Justin Elicker at his virtual press conference Tuesday.

“When asking that question, I think, would I go to a restaurant? Would I get my hair cut? Would I go shopping? I’m not so sure I would,” Elicker said.

Given the guidelines set by Gov. Ned Lamont, “I am not so sure the May 20 date ... is completely realistic,” Elicker said, even as New Haven’s economic development, building and health departments gear up for the changes needed if businesses within the parameters outlined by the state opt to put the “open” sign on their doors.

Elicker has continuously stressed the need for health and safety first as the best measure for long-term success of the economy.  

He said the requirements the state has outlined that need to be met “in order to feel more comfortable with reopening” are not all in place.

Elicker said the drop in hospitalization of COVID-19 patients is “on a promising trend,” but the capacity to test on a very wide scale and to provide enough personal protective equipment for everyone who needs it, “I am not quite sure we are there and we are talking eight days.”  

The mayor said the date is not as important as the overall daily assessment “of the risk versus the gain” as the measure that people should use in making choices

As he usually does, he updated the figures on how many residents are positive for COVID-19 — 2,083 — and the number of fatalities — 82.  

Maritza Bond, the director of health, said the city is continuing to help nursing homes get patients tested for the coronavirus. She said Dr. Michael Murphy and Associates, who opened up the Day and Chapel streets COVID-19 testing site, will work with the city to test all the patients at Advanced Nursing and Rehabilitation.

The Fair Haven Community Health Center has tested all residents and staff at the Mary Wade Home. 

Rosa DeLauro says back to top

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, was also at the virtual press conference, during which she updated the mayor on what is happening in Washington.

DeLauro said she is looking to get some things passed that were left out the last time Congress approved funds to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

She said she is concentrating on paid sick days and family medical leave, as well as expansion of the child tax credit for poor households.

“This is one of the chief ways of lifting families out of poverty,” DeLauro said.

She said the fight on increased money for food continues.

Despite the push back from GOP lawmakers, DeLauro said “the necessity” of these funds will turn the tide in the Senate.

“The necessity is not just New Haven. It is all over the country. And look, 80,000 deaths. It was difficult beforehand. You couldn’t make your way … Think of the millions of people who have lost their jobs. What is happening to them?” DeLauro asked.

“People want government to engage, to help them in their lives at this moment when the circumstances and the challenges are beyond anything that they have anything to do with and they are trying to cope,” she said.

“What I say to (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Jr. , R-Ky,) is listen to the people of this country. They are on their knees. They are desperate and what is our job? What is our moral responsibility? That is to respond because the federal government is where the resources are,” DeLauro said.

She said she remains hopeful because up to now all the funding has been approved in a bipartisan manner.