The number of Covid 19 infections in Woodbridge has dropped significantly in June, according to Police Chief Frank Cappiello. “We have a total of 129 COVID-19 positive cases thus far and 32 associated deaths as of [June 19],” he wrote in an e-mail. “The majority of the these are from our three extended care facilities in town.”
With baby steps and very controlled measures to contain the Covid 19 outbreak, the state has been allowing many operations to open up. That is true for Woodbridge as well, where restaurants have started serving food indoors and out, and the dogs are back, romping happily in the new dog park at the Fitzgerald property. But, masks are required most places and people are encouraged to stay six feet apart.
Town employees are back working at Town Hall, but the building is still closed to the public. “All town services will continue to be done virtually as before,” said First Selectman Beth Heller in her remarks to the Board of Selectmen June 10.
Tax office: That presents some challenges for the tax collection process, which ramps up next week. Tax Collector Pat Crisco is encouraging residents to mail their payments rather than drop them off in person. The mailing address is 11 Meetinghouse Lane, Woodbridge 06525.
For those who need to come in person, the tax office will have a dedicated window to the right of the main doors. The window will be staffed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning July 1.
The town is participating in a tax deferral program for those who experienced significant loss of income due to the shut-down. Contact the tax office for details.
Tennis courts: The tennis courts and pickle ball courts are now open, but those coming to play need to reserve the courts ahead of time by contacting the Recreation Department at 203-389-3446.
By June 19, the Governor’s opening plan had moved to stage 2, allowing limited indoor food service, gyms and libraries to open. But all activities come with a set of restrictions in order to allow people to keep their distance, wear masks and keep fresh air circulating. Driving schools, for example, can offer lessons as long as both the student and the teacher wear masks, and the windows are rolled down to allow air circulation.
People are encouraged to keep social distancing in elevators and avoid them altogether if possible. Plexiglass partitions are now ubiquitous, to help keep droplets from traveling.
Planning an event?: Starting with Phase 3 of the Governor’s re-opening plan in mid-July, indoor private gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, and outdoor events of up to 250. Currently, those caps are at 25 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Private events may include political fundraisers as well as birthday parties and other celebrations in people’s homes and backyards.
Summer fun: Woodbridge families have a number of options, both virtual ones as well as actual summer camp. Beecher Road School may be closed, but that doesn’t mean that summer has to be boring. Beecher teachers are offering a virtual summer enrichment program from 9 a.m. to noon, starting July 6 to July 31. All lessons will be delivered on Google Classroom and Meet.
The Extended Day program, which usually hosts children before and after school, also is offering online activities as well. Each day will begin with a Meet and Greet followed by various possible activities, depending on age. For the youngest participants, these may consist of storytime and playdough, a lego challenge or dance party.
The JCC started its day camp this week. To keep campers safe, they are assigned to small groups of no more than 10 that maintain complete separation from all other bunks and counselors throughout the day and throughout each session. Camp features an outdoor pool, a climbing wall, a stage, basketball, archery, Ga-Ga and human foosball courts and four miles of hiking trails on 54 acres.
Woodbridge Recreation also started its virtual summer camp this week. It runs through July 31, from 10 am-12 pm. It will consist of three 40-minute periods. Classes include fitness boot camp, run with me, safety classes, photography, drawing, storyboarding, film, Mother Nature, and a virtual zoo visit. Registration requires a valid email address that is regularly monitored. For details email email@example.com or call the Recreation office at 203-389-3446.
JCC to reopen: With the first day of summer camp on June 22, the Jewish Community Center is also re-opening its indoor pool and the fitness center. Both the pool and the fitness center will be open to JCC members and by appointment only. Everybody’s temperature will be taken upon entering the building. They installed touchless faucets throughout the building.
Town Library: The library is carefully ramping up its system of book and other media lending, with a curbside Park & Pickup service that started this week. Patrons can call in or put an item on hold, and library staff will place them in a bag on a table near the entrance, said Library Director Eric Werthman. Items can be picked up Monday and Thursday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.; and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Patrons are asked to respect social distancing rules while waiting to approach the table. Newspapers, magazines and items from other libraries are not part of this service. However, starting July 6, the interlibrary loan program will resume.
Werthman said the library staff is currently preparing the facility for the public, which involves installing plexiglass shields at the checkout counter, and limiting the number of people admitted at any particular time. He is hopeful that doors may open sometime in July.
Returned items are being quarantined for three days before they are being returned to the shelves, Werthman said.
There will be a virtual summer reading program with prizes and raffles, but as of press time details had yet to be worked out. There are a couple of online special programs – making cupcakes on July 1, and the Magnificent Monster Circus on July 14. Sign-up is through the library website, https://www.woodbridge.lioninc.org/.
Senior Center: Memoir writing project – Contact The Woodbridge Center at (203) 389-3430 to get started on a memoir writing project. All entries must be submitted by September 30. Everyone has a story to tell and each creative process will be unique. Use memoir writing to capture interesting memories and include mementoes such as letters, postcards, photos and recipes. Entries will be bound for each participant and a copy of the collection of stories will be available at the library.
Senior Center: Juke box bingo – Bingo just got musical. Numbers on bingo cards have been replaced with song titles. Call into our conference line to hear snippets of songs played from the 50s and 60s, figure out the title, look for it and mark it off on your card. When you get 4 in a row (16 box card), yell “BINGO”. This event is free and is accessible via telephone or internet. Call 203-389-3430 for access number, and more information. The event runs Wednesdays from 1:30-2:30 pm starting June 24. Prizes include hand sanitizer and other fun surprises.
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent