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Governor Ned Lamont says authorities will continue to crack down on businesses that violate coronavirus protocols, after a Fairfield bar and restaurant was shut down over the weekend.

Police say the Brickyard Pub had a crowd that exceeded capacity and many patrons weren’t wearing masks. Lamont noted Monday the pub is in a town which is seeing spike in COVID-19 cases.

"These are bars masquerading as restaurants," he told reporters. "They are flagrantly disregarding the protocols and they lead up to an outbreak."

During debate today on the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said she would be an activist judge, who would radically shift the political balance of the court. Blumenthal told the chamber the GOP has pursued an unprecedented rush to confirm a nominee. He said Barett would help decimate the healthcare system by ruling against Obamacare. But Republican senators describe Barrett as a restrained judge who will only call balls and strikes.

Students in Danbury will not return to the classroom today. The city, which is on Connecticut's "red alert" list, is postponing in-person learning as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb. Danbury schools aren't the only ones still being impacted by the coronavirus. It's led to a continuation in virtual learning at schools in Montville, Southington and Waterbury.

More than 450,000 people have already submitted their absentee ballots in Connecticut for next week's election. As the Hartford Courant reports, that's roughly 20 percent of registered voters. The numbers, which were tallied Thursday night,  show more than half of returns are from Democrats. Republicans make up 15 percent of votes. Absentee ballot applications were sent to all eligible voters. 

As Fairfield was added to the red-alert list Thursday, Sacred Heart University announced it will further limit on-campus activities. Hearst Connecticut reports the university said it is canceling all public events for the foreseeable future. As of Wednesday, the university had 70 positive coronavirus cases with a total of 273 students having had the virus since the beginning of the fall semester. 

Montville, Waterbury Schools Close Due To COVID-19

Oct 23, 2020

All public schools in Montville will switch to full remote learning starting Friday. The Hartford Courant reports in-person learning will resume on Nov.9. The district has not announced why all schools are closing or how many individuals tested positive for coronavirus. 

 

MassMutual Layoffs 82 Employees in Enfield

Oct 23, 2020

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. announced this week it plans to lay off 82 employees from its Connecticut location in Enfield. The Journal Inquirer reports the layoffs will be effective between Dec.

Governor Ned Lamont announced Friday the state will allocate $1 million in supplemental funding to help foster parents manage additional responsibilities. Officials say that, during the pandemic, foster parents across Connecticut have helped care for more than 3,600 children in state care and form “the backbone” of the child welfare system. 

 

Windsor Locks Middle School was dismissed early Thursday after two school community members tested positive for coronavirus.

East Hartford High School Closes Due To COVID-19 Case

Oct 22, 2020

East Hartford High School will switch to remote learning for the rest of the week after a student tested positive for coronavirus.

With negotiations at a halt, the state is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit requesting to block mask usage in schools. The lawsuit, filed earlier this year, was by a group of parents claiming masks are harmful to children. The CT News Junkie reports that both sides have failed to reach an agreement and new court dates have been requested in November. But the plaintiff has had a difficult time finding witnesses. State lawyers suggest the group is “dragging their feet.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the roll call vote was also notable for its silence from Democrats. 

As the committee clerk read off a list of names, she got no answer from several senators. The reason was simple: Those senators, including Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal, weren’t there. 

A rise in COVID-19 cases in Connecticut and New Jersey has landed both states on New York's quarantine list, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York won't enforce the rules against those residents. The three states had announced the joint travel advisory this summer at a time when the Northeast was reporting low and declining rates of infection while other parts of the country saw spikes. But the governor said Tuesday he doesn't expect residents from Connecticut or New Jersey to follow New York's rule requiring self-quarantine for 14 days for states on the list.

After more than 250 years of publication in Connecticut's capital, The Hartford Courant is moving the printing of the newspaper to Springfield, the company announced Monday. The outsourcing will eliminate 151 jobs at the Courant's plant in Hartford, the newspaper reported. 

The Springfield Republican newspaper will take over printing of the paper by the year's end. The move from Hartford will not affect distribution of the paper, which began as a newsweekly on Oct. 29, 1764.

New employment numbers released today by the state Labor Department show Connecticut is still gaining back some of the jobs lost when parts of the economy shut down in the spring because of the pandemic. The state added back 17,000 jobs in September. But the month-to-month rate of that jobs recovery is slowing, and the state is still far from getting back all of the jobs lost in April.

The tongue-in-cheek saga of a TV personality and Danbury's sewage treatment plant continues. Last Week Tonight host John Oliver recently visited the plant for a videotaped ceremony unveiling a sign that reads, "John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant." Mayor Mark Boughton posted photos on social media of Oliver's appearance. Danbury officials jokingly named the plant after Oliver sarcastically attacked Danbury in a previous show. Oliver said he would donate money to charity if the city followed through on the naming.

More than 400 nurses who went on a two-day strike amid disputes over pay and the availability of protective gear at a Norwich hospital have a tentative contract. The nurses and officials at the William W. Backus Hospital found common ground Saturday morning following an intervention by Gov. Ned Lamont. Nurses went on strike Tuesday and Wednesday to pressure the hospital to negotiate better contract terms and then returned to work as negotiations continued. Union officials say negotiated pay raises will help stop an exodus of nurses headed to jobs with higher salaries.

The governor's office reported 802 new coronavirus cases in Connecticut Friday. The positivity rate is 2.4 percent, the highest since early May, and 187 patients statewide are currently hospitalized with the virus. The Connecticut Department of Public Health also launched a weekly color-coded COVID-19 alert map showing the conditions in individual towns. The map has four categories -- Gray, Yellow, Orange and Red with Red having the highest case rate. In addition to the map, the DPH also submitted its draft plan for mass coronavirus vaccination to the CDC.

Connecticut recently acquired a temporary Major League Soccer tenant to play in East Hartford. And now, local soccer fans will finally get to see them play.

The state Board of Regents yesterday decided to use more than half of the reserve fund for Connecticut's community colleges to help with operating costs. The Connecticut Mirror reports that the system is facing a 15 percent drop in enrollment, and a loss in tuition revenue because of the pandemic and its impact on the state's economy.

The state of Connecticut has a deadline of Friday, Oct 16 to submit a draft coronavirus vaccination plan to federal healthcare officials. It is expected that the number of doses will be limited when a vaccine first goes into production, so state officials will likely have to decide which groups of people get inoculated first. State Department of Public Health acting commissioner Deidre Gifford says her agency is working with limited information, because vaccine development is still ongoing.

Connecticut prison officials are monitoring a coronavirus outbreak at a Hartford jail where 56 inmates recently tested positive after two staff members contracted the virus.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Karen Martucci said Thursday that all 56 inmates are not showing symptoms and are separated from the general population. All the infected prisoners were detained in the units where the two employees worked. The jail is on lockdown for cleaning.

The winter high school sports season is set to begin Dec. 7. The Hartford Courant reports the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference approved the schedule yesterday. It's still developing specific coronavirus mitigation strategies for each sport. Schedule limitations will be imposed, including a restriction on out-of-state competition.

There are now 11 towns in Connecticut classified as being in COVID “red zones” -- that is they have more than 15 cases per 100,000 residents. When Governor Ned Lamont introduced the system last week, there were only four towns in that category.

Lamont said at his Thursday coronavirus briefing his administration plans to release the names of the towns that are red zones every week. Towns in these red zones are allowed to roll back to Phase two of reopening, or consider all-remote learning in their school districts.

Five northeast governors banded together Thursday to call for a reform of New England’s electricity grid.

A Connecticut prosecutor says two police officers were justified when they shot a high school psychologist to death during a domestic violence call last year. 

The Connecticut Department of Labor says it's now received more than a million applications for unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic. Commissioner Kurt Westby describes that as “a milestone no one wanted to get to.” The Department says it has distributed more than $5 bn in benefits across both state and federal programs. Just under a quarter of a million people remain on unemployment currently. Westby said over the seven months of the crisis his department has received more applications than it normally would in eight years.

A Connecticut man accused of pledging allegiance to -- and wanting to fight for --- the Islamic State has been ruled incompetent to stand trial. Hearst Connecticut Media reports Kevin Iman McCormick of Hamden was returned to federal custody to receive treatment with the goal of restoring his competence.

A federal judge cited a doctor's report in the ruling.

Pratt & Whitney has told the town of East Hartford to expect hundreds of job cuts at its facilities this week. In all it's thought some 450 salaried positions may be at risk across its Connecticut locations, although the company hasn't confirmed those numbers publicly. The cuts come as parent company Raytheon, based in Massachusetts, seeks $1 bn in savings in the next four years, and also battles the disastrous falloff in commercial aerospace business as a result of COVID-19.

Yale University is shutting down all varsity athletic activities until at least next Wednesday following a cluster of Covid-19 cases. The Yale Daily News reports six members of the Yale men’s hockey team have tested positive for the virus. The University’s COVID-19 coordinator informed students of the outbreak in an email Tuesday night.

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