New Canaan’s highest elected official on Monday ordered the closing of all local public parks, according to the town’s emergency management director.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan’s Emergency Order includes the closure of public school fields, as well, Emergency Management Director Mike Handler said.
“This order is effective immediately through April 30th,” Handler said in a town-wide voice call and email. “These actions are being taken to ensure that our message is absolutely clear—there should be zero social gathering. This may be received poorly by some; unfortunately, it is necessary to save lives.”
The Order comes less than one week after Moynihan expressed a desire to keep the parks open so that people could get out. Yet by then Norwalk, Stamford and Wilton were among the towns that already had closed their own public parks, and Darien is following suit.
Handler said in an evening broadcast Monday that a fourth New Canaan resident had succumbed to the virus.
“While we have made progress getting results from Quest and LabCorp, we are still awaiting 40 test results from New Canaan’s March 26 test date,” Handler said. “New Canaan currently has 42 confirmed positive cases; and sadly, another dear member of our community has passed bringing our total loss of life to [four].”
Though public parks in New Canaan remained open though the weekend, Handler and other officials have been urging locals to practice social distancing when out and as much as possible to stay home. Those local businesses allowed to operate during the crisis have changed protocols in order to minimize the risk of transmission.
In a press release issued after Handler’s call, Moynihan said, “Although New Canaan has had limited spread of the novel coronavirus with 34 residents having now tested positive, we need to do everything possible to try to reinforce the message to our residents that unnecessary social gathering must be discouraged and everyone must practice social distancing. Only by curtailing the community spread of the virus will we protect our seniors and avoid overburdening our hospitals and first responders as this pandemic proceeds.”
[Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with the most recent information from the emergency management director.]