All Connecticut public schools will be closed until at least March 31, following an executive order announced Sunday evening in Hartford by Governor Ned Lamont.
The governor's order also extends the time students who receive meals under the school lunch and breakfast program can continue to receive them for consumption at home.
Most DMV offices to close
Mr. Lamont also authorized the Department of Motor Vehicles to close branches to the public, conduct business remotely, and extend deadlines for hearings and related notices.
The governor expects the DMV to keep four branches open partially, serving as operations hubs. At press time, the locations of the hubs had not been announced, nor had the timing of DMV branch closures.
Governor Lamont said he is working with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to explore whether bars and restaurants should be closed, or at least have restaurants limited to takeout and delivery. Considering the ease of crossing state lines, he said he would prefer a consistent regional approach.
Later on Sunday evening, Governor Baker took direct action in Massachusetts, prohibiting in-restaurant dining. Mr. Baker also ordered all Bay State schools, public and private, closed for three weeks, and set 25 as the maximum number of people allowed at public gatherings. A previous order had it at 250.
Towns receive budget deadline flexibility
With budget deadlines approaching in Weston and many other municipalities, Governor Lamont's order paves the way for towns to have flexibility in meeting legal requirements for hearings and public budget votes.
A statement from the governor's office said staff members will be working with local governments and the legal community to resolve issues regarding statutory deadlines and notice requirements for land use boards, public attendance and voting at town budget meetings. He said they will seek alternative methods for the public to submit comments for hearings.
In Weston, a required Board of Finance budget public hearing is currently scheduled for March 24. The Annual Town Budget Meeting and Budget Referendum are scheduled to occur in April.
Relief for small business
Mr. Lamont told reporters outside the governor's residence that he has submitted a request to the federal Small Business Administration that would enable small business owners in Connecticut to receive economic injury disaster loans up to $2 million at low interest rates. He said he expects the request will be approved quickly.
Business tax filing extensions
The governor announced that the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services is granting an automatic 30-day extension of Connecticut filing deadlines for some annual state tax returns.
The deadline for filing form CT-1065/CT-1120 SI, the Pass-Though Entity Tax Return, has been extended to April 15. The payment deadline is June 15.
The deadline for filing and making payment for form CT-990T, Connecticut Unrelated Business Income Tax Return, is now June 15.
The deadline for filing and payment for forms CT-1120 and CT-1120CU, the Connecticut Corporation Business Return, is now June 15.
Additional updates will be posted on the DRS website.
Health insurance for unemployed
Office of Health Strategy Executive Director Vicki Veltri reminds Connecticut residents that any worker in the state who receives health insurance through their employer, becomes unemployed, and loses minimum essential coverage or receives COBRA—whether it is due to the COVID-19 outbreak or otherwise—qualifies all year for open enrollment through AccessHealthCT, the state’s health insurance marketplace. Those interested in applying can find more information at learn.accesshealthct.com/special/.
Visits to psychiatric facilities restricted
Building on the governor’s previous order restricting visitor access to nursing homes and other similar facilities, today's order allows the relevant state agencies to restrict entrance into psychiatric facilities in order to protect vulnerable residents, patients, and staff.
Current cases by county
A county-by-county breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases includes:
16 in Fairfield County.
3 in Hartford County.
4 in Litchfield County.
3 in New Haven County.