|Camillo: Practice social distancing or Greenwich may close parks, beaches|
|March 18, 2020|
GREENWICH — First Selectman Fred Camillo warned that he may be forced to take further action and close town parks if residents do not start following rules of social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Camillo said there were six diagnosed cases of coronavirus in Greenwich, but Greenwich Hospital had tested 24 more people for the virus.
No details were released on the possible cases, but Camillo said they may not all be town residents. They all remain in self-isolation while awaiting results, he said.
The town is under a state of emergency, and at a Wednesday news briefing, Camillo said although town beaches and parks remain open, that might change.
“We are going to start monitoring the parks,” he said. “We’ve closed the playgrounds already and we have signs up about not using the equipment. ... While we are absolutely encouraging people to go outside and exercise, they need to do so at a distance.
“We’ve been getting some reports that not everyone is adhering to the social distancing suggestions so we will have park monitors go around on a daily basis,” Camillo said.
Employees of the Parks and Recreation Department will monitor the town’s beaches this weekend, he said. Violators will not be kicked out or ticketed, he said, but they would be advised to practice social distancing.
“If it gets to a point where people are just not listening at all, then under the powers granted to me under the emergency declaration, I will close the parks and beaches,” Camillo said. “People need to listen.”
Additionally, the police officers assigned to Greenwich Avenue have been temporarily reassigned to assist with emergency responses, Camillo said.
For now, he said, the stop signs on Greenwich Avenue will serve as traffic management. But the town will look into bringing in temporary traffic lights, Camillo said.
He and other town officials are meeting daily about the coronavirus response and further steps could be taken. The town’s Emergency Operations Center is open and partially activated to monitor the situation.
Restaurants and bars can serve food only for takeout and delivery, under state rules. And Camillo closed down all body care facilities, including hair salons, barbershops and nail salons, and massage establishments until April 30. The town’s civic centers and Senior Center remain closed as well.
These measures were taken, Camillo said, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“You’re going to start seeing the numbers (of cases) rise exponentially, and we’re just trying to stay ahead of it and slow it down,” he said. “That’s all we can do at this point.”
The town is in contact with local businesses, said Camillo, who shares the concerns of business owners worried about the impact of a long-term shutdown.
“I would hope everyone understands that this is not a good situation for anybody,” Camillo said. “We haven’t seen this before. We’ll get through it, and how soon we get through it, really depends on how people adhere to the social distancing and keeping safe.” https://www.greenwichtime.com/news/coronavirus/article/Camillo-Practice-social-distancing-or-Greenwich-15141469.php?src=gthpcp