Redding Health Dept. COVID-19 Detailed Update on Guidance in Reopening the State

Report by Paula Antolini, May 23, 2020, 7:56PM EDT

Redding COVID-19 Update / May 23, 2020:

Redding has eight fatalities that tested positive for COVID-19.

Reopening the State

Wednesday May 20 was the beginning of the state’s gradual reopening. Each reopening phase will be staggered to allow time for evaluation. Governor Lamont said the rate of new hospitalizations over the next two or three weeks should clarify whether the pandemic has been stymied for at least a while. The pace that the state is opened all depends on how it goes. If the virus lessens, things will become less restrictive. If public health metrics deteriorate, the State may choose to revert back to stricter safeguards.


Restaurants, in addition to take-out and delivery service, can now serve food for in-person outdoor dining. Bars and indoor dining are currently not permitted. Concerning COVID-19 outdoors is considered safer than indoors.  Outdoor dining guidelines are as follows:

  • 50-percent capacity
  • Outdoor dining only
  • Tables 6 feet
  • Bars closed
  • Dance floors remain closed
  • Contactless payments preferred
  • High-contact areas and bathrooms cleaned frequently
  • Tables & chairs sanitized between groups
  • Paper or digital menus or posted on chalkboard/whiteboard
  • Packaged or rolled silverware
  • Hand sanitizer & cleaning wipes available at entrance and exit
  • Employees to wear facemasks or cloth face coverings
  • Table servers to wear disposable gloves, changed frequently
  • Customers wear facemasks or cloth face coverings except while dining


Individuals over the age of 65 or with other health conditions should not visit offices, but instead continue to stay home and stay safe. All employees are required to wear a face mask or other face covering that covers the nose and mouth, unless a medical exemption is provided. In work settings where employees are working alone in cubicles with walls or private offices, face masks may be removed, however a mask must be worn when in common areas such as hallways, break rooms and rest rooms. Guidelines are as follows:

  • Maximum 50-percent capacity
  • Work from home where possible
  • Meetings subject to 5-person limit
  • Employees seated 6 feet apart, leave empty desks where necessary
  • Physical partitions where possible
  • Limit elevator capacity
  • High contact areas & bathrooms cleaned frequently
  • Common areas & lobbies cleaned frequently
  • Limit equipment sharing
  • Hand sanitizer & cleaning wipes at entrance and in common areas
  • Employees to wear facemasks or cloth face coverings except when in a private office
  • Increased ventilation and airflow where possible


If you need to seek emergency medical attention then you should visit the nearest hospital but if you have a non-emergency condition (flu, strep throat, etc) then it’s encouraged that you see if you can get treatment online. Also, home doctor visits are also encouraged to help minimize possible contact with people outside your bubble. If you’re a parent then it’s advised you look at this Modern Pediatrics Blog to find out why pediatrics is shifting to home visits.


  • Maximum 50-percent capacity
  • Fitting rooms closed
  • Physical barriers at checkout
  • Markers indicate 6-foot distance in line and at door
  • Self-serve counters closed
  • Contactless payments preferred
  • Hand sanitizer & cleaning wipes at entrance points
  • Bathrooms cleaned frequently
  • High-contact areas cleaned frequently (carts/baskets, door handles, credit card machines)
  • Employees to wear facemasks or cloth face coverings at all times
  • Customers to ear facemasks or cloth face coverings at all times

Malls are allowed to reopen as long as they follow the guidelines.

Permitted Outdoor Activities

Outdoor Recreation activities are defined as the following:

  • Equestrian (subject to Dept. of Agriculture guidance)
  • Mountain Biking 
  • Camping
  • Boat Tours (subject to 5 passengers)
  • Charter Fishing (subject to 5 passengers)
  • Sport Fishing (subject to 5 passengers)
  • Go Kart Race Tracks, practice only (bring your own, no rentals)
  • Golf
  • Driving Ranges
  • Tennis
  • 1:1 Training, outdoors maintain 6 feet
  • Race Tracks (practice only, no spectators)
  • Campgrounds (subject to DPH rules)
  • Outdoor Shooting Range
  • Kayaking, Sailing, Canoeing and Stand-up Paddleboarding
  • Dirt Biking (practice only)
  • Mini Golf
  • Batting Cages
  • Archery
  • Rope Courses
  • Ziplines
  • Volleyball (2 vs. 2 only)

Hair Salons

Hair salons will be permitted to open June 1.

  • Maximum 50 percent capacity
  • Appointments only
  • Waiting rooms closed
  • Workstations six feet apart
  • Physical barriers where possible
  • Contactless payments preferred
  • Tools soaked in disinfectant between clients
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes at entrance points
  • High-contact areas and bathrooms cleaned frequently
  • Limit conversation where possible.
  • Employees to wear face masks and face shields or eye protection
  • Employees to provide clean smock for each customer
  • Customers to wear face masks or cloth face coverings
  • Increased ventilation and airflow where possible


Events are still limited to five people, or 50 for religious services. For social gatherings, that number might change by June 20. For formal events the plan calls for up to 50 people on June 20, possibly rising to 100 a month later. It’s been stated that crowded bars and buffets won’t return right away.


Governor Lamont issued an executive order allowing all eligible Connecticut residents to use absentee ballots for the August 11 primaries.

What’s to come…maybe

The next possible date for openings, pending favorable public health data results, is June 20. Possibly gyms, movie theatres, hotels and motels, nail salons and amusement parks will be open. All of it would need to be worked out with specific rules yet to be written. Governor Lamont said June 20 is only a benchmark on the calendar that depends on how things go.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is considered crucial to reopening the state. The goal is to make sure the sporadic cases of COVID-19 don’t turn into a community outbreak. We know this virus is highly contagious and its ability to continue spreading is feasible.

The contact tracing process involves the local health department contacting by phone or email those who have recently tested positive for the virus. If they opt in to the tracing protocol, the department will ask who they’ve been in close contact with in the days leading up to and immediately following the onset of symptoms. Volunteer contact tracers will then contact those who may have crossed paths with that positive COVID-19 case, ask them if they’d like to participate in contact tracing, and proceed from there.


Testing for coronavirus is key to getting the state back in operation. Currently the testing focus remains on those working in health care and long-term care facilities, those demonstrating symptoms, and those exposed to a positive case. Locally testing is available at CVS in Bethel at 7 Durant Avenue, CVS in Danbury at 47 Lake Avenue Extension, and CVS in Fairfield at 1770 Kings Highway. You must pre-register at The state hopes to expand testing eventually to those without symptoms.

How We Feel App

The State has partnered with the developers of the “How We Feel” app. It’s a tool for health officials and doctors to get a better understanding of how the whole population is feeling, both healthy and sick. It takes about 30 seconds each day. The anonymous information shared has the potential to reveal outbreak hotspots and provide scientists with critical health information needed to understand the spread of COVID-19. It’s downloadable for free.

Information Sources

Governor Lamont has put out a thorough FAQ document that will most likely address questions that you might have. It can be found at:

Redding information can be found at:

The CDC website is at:

Connecticut Department of Public Health site is at:

Social distancing and other precautions, particularly wearing face masks in public when potentially within 6 feet of others remains important. If we’re too lax with our distancing and protective measures, then the reopening will take longer. If we go slowly, follow the rules and do it right, it won’t take as long.

The Redding Health Department