SOUTHBURY — The Board of Selectmen on Sunday, March 15, announced that, following an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon, the town will open its Emergency Operations Center by close of business on Monday, March 16, in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The decision was made in conjunction with the Deputy Director of Emergency Management, M. Scott Furr.

The Board of Selectmen believes, based on the most recent information provided by the state and the Centers for Disease Control and considering the vulnerability of Southbury’s large senior population, that opening the EOC at this time and for the immediate future will help coordinate the town’s response in the interest of protecting the health and safety of all Southbury residents.

The EOC was set up on Monday, March 16, in the Kensington Room of the Southbury Public Library, which has been closed to the public until further notice under orders of the first selectman. The EOC will be open only to essential personnel and will not be open to the public.

With the unanimous agreement of the Board of Selectmen, the first selectman has directed all town boards, commissions and committees to either temporarily suspend non-essential meetings or move to remote meetings via phone and/or video conference.

The Board of Selectmen plans to conduct its regularly scheduled meetings via video conference and/or conference call starting with its meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19. As permitted by Gov. Ned Lamont’s recent executive order, all town meetings will be accessible to the public only via remote access during this period, including live streaming online and/or via conference call.

More information regarding Board of Selectmen and town committee meetings will be provided as available on the town website at southbury-ct.org and via its Facebook page.

The Board of Selectmen urges all residents to practice “social distancing” and avoid all unnecessary travel outside your home and interaction with others during this crisis.

“We encourage all residents to closely monitor updates and review valuable health and safety resources from the state of Connecticut and the Centers for Disease Control as well as the Pomperaug District Department of Health,” the board’s announcement said.

The state has partnered with United Way of Connecticut to launch an information hotline for questions from the public regarding issues related to the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. People who have questions can call 211 or text “CTCOVID” to 898211.

The first selectman, in conjunction with the Board of Selectmen, will consider further actions on a daily basis to protect public health and safety, including limiting access to public buildings and the postponement or cancellation of town programs and events.

The first selectman will provide additional updates and recommendations as necessary in the coming days and weeks via email, the town’s website and Facebook page as well as its CodeRed phone system, as appropriate.

Residents can sign up for the CodeRed phone service at: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/F241F2CED8B9.

“The Board of Selectmen is unified in protecting the health and safety of our residents as our top priority,” the announcement concluded.

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