Town Calls for Volunteers To Help New Canaan Seniors Stay Home During COVID-19 Emergency

Town officials are calling for volunteers to help run errands for New Canaan residents 75-and-older so that those individuals most at-risk to COVID-19 are able to stay home. A list of some 1,434 residents in the age bracket has been pared down to about 900 after those already receiving care and services through local organizations such as Waveny LifeCare Network and Staying Put in New Canaan were removed, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. 

Volunteers are needed to help “order meals from restaurants, get their groceries, pick up prescriptions at the pharmacies,” Moynihan said during a regular Board of Selectmen meeting held Tuesday via videoconference. 

“We would like to have a 1-on-1 relationship where a volunteer takes on a couple or a few seniors to be able to go to the grocery store instead of having them go,” he said. Many of the 900 people identified are “very active and vital people” who do not require assistance themselves, “but the key is they could stay home, given their age they are the most vulnerable, so ideally we want to get to a point where we get as many volunteers as possible.”

Those interested in volunteering should contact Interim Director of Human Services Bethany Zaro, Moynihan said. Her email is, according to the municipal website. 

“All of our town employees and our volunteers are doing a terrific job,” Moynihan said. He said that Emergency Management Director Mike Handler and Health Director Jen Eielson especially have been doing “an absolutely tremendous job” during the COVID-19 emergency. 

Moynihan announced Sunday that Town Hall is closed to the public and that the “most essential” municipal workers are reachable via phone and email to respond as best they could.

Emergency Management Director: ‘Goal’ To Have Drive-Thru Testing for Virus by March 23

Municipal leaders on Monday announced that Town Hall hours will be limited due to the COVID-19 emergency and said they hope to make drive-thru testing for the virus available next week. Officials “have been working on bringing this service to New Canaan,” Emergency Management Director Mike Handler said of the testing in a town-wide voice call and email. “More information on how this process will work will be shared in the coming days. Many people are rightfully asking how long this is going to last. While we do not have a definitive answer, it is important that we all view this as more of a marathon than a sprint. Whatever the duration, we will get through this together.”

The information comes as cases of the virus surge, with a total of 41 cases in Connecticut, health officials say, including 29 in Fairfield County. The statewide figure is up from 26 in just one day. In New Canaan as elsewhere, food service establishments may offer pickup and curbside service only, and gyms, public playgrounds and the movie theater are closed.

Divided Commission Rejects Plan To Add 8 Permit Spaces in Park Street Lot

Saying the spaces should be left to short-term shoppers and diners, members of the Parking Commission last week voted 3-2 against offering eight additional permits for the Park Street Lot. Tucked behind Elm Street near the corner of Park, the 126-space lot already accommodates 36 “commercial permit” holders, 25 individuals with grandfathered permit spaces and about 17 municipal employees, officials say. Issuing eight more permits for those who work downtown would squeeze out those seeking to pay by the hour for spaces in order to visit retail shops and restaurants, according to Parking Commission members who opposed the measure. In addition, those who work downtown should be directed to buy a permit for lots located further from the center of town, such as on Locust Avenue or on the former Center School site along Maple Street, according to Commissioner Chris Hering. “The further out you get, the longer you are able to park,” he said at the March 4 meeting, held in Town Hall.