April 17, 2021

With Increase in COVID Cases, Old Lyme Town Hall Now Open for Business by Appointment Only

OLD LYME — 2:25pm UPDATE: Since we published this report, we have learned that Old Lyme Town Hall has moved to an appointment-only system — no walk-ins will be allowed.

At Monday night’s board of selectmen meeting, First Selectman Timothy Griswold informed his fellow board members that in light of the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases in town, a greeter would be in place by the end of this week to meet people entering the town hall.

He said the intent is, “to engage a greater push to have people make appointments [before coming to town hall], make sure the person needed is here, reduce walk-ins and discourage stopping in.”

Griswold hopes to encourage as many people as possible to do their business with town hall by phone or email, or to make an appointment in advance to see the required person in town hall. Noting the number of people in town hall would be limited going forward, he mentioned the greeter would keep a log of people entering town hall with the person’s name, “time in and time out,” which would be helpful if contact tracing were required at any point.

Griswold said the town had seen ” an acceleration” of cases from 28 in early October to 44 by Nov. 3 and yesterday, to 89. [The latest number reported from yesterday is 95.] He noted that there is, “not a good synchronization,” between the numbers reported by the state and the information given directly to the town by Ledge Light Health Department.

Griswold said he had taken this matter up on the most recent Governor’s call and was still following up on the issue to try and achieve some resolution.

Grswold also reported that Old Lyme Emergency Director David Roberge and Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal were now working on protocols to establish “a process as to what to do,” in case, “a town employee is exposed or comes down with COVID.”

Selectman Cristopher Kerr mentioned he had been in both Essex and Deep River Town Halls that day and both had similar procedures in place for when you entered town hall. He noted they also both had separate doors for entering and exiting. Nosal queried whether that could be implemented in Old Lyme Town Hall too, saying, “I like simple stuff to separate people.” Kerr agreed, adding, “Yes, don’t complicate it”

Griswold stressed that there now is a high need, “to impress upon our fellow citizens,” that the number of people in town hall must be reduced. He concluded saying, “We don’t know how long this will last.”




  1. Thomas D. Gotowka says

    I apologize, in advance, for often being the bearer of more bad news.
    I’ve commented on this before, but, because, as was noted in the report, CT DPH’s system is based on local case rates, communities with smaller populations, like Lyme and Old Lyme, will reach “Red Zone” levels. with only a relatively small increase in the number of new cases.
    CT is probably now experiencing the beginning of the post-Thanksgiving spike that public health experts had warned us about. Unfortunately, those new cases will probably lead to other infections, and the total impact may not be fully evident for some time.
    On Tue., Dec. 8th, CT recorded a test positivity rate of 8.65 percent, the highest in several months; forty new hospitalizations and eighteen additional deaths from the day before. Our hospitals are getting overwhelmed, and that’s not a good thing.
    The fastest growing group of new cases has shifted from the 18- to 22- year-olds to the 40- to 50- year-old age group.
    I think that it’s important to acknowledge the courage of the State governors, who had to take the unpopular leading role in handling this pandemic; when national leadership fell apart.
    We’ve got vaccines ahead, and the FDA is considering Pfizer’s request for an emergency use authorization this week, and Moderna’s next week. However, actually getting enough Americans vaccinated will not be completed until the end of next year, or later. It’s a daunting public health project.
    So, expect to have to endure the challenge of wearing a mask, washing your hands, avoiding crowds, especially indoors, and maintaining social distancing for the foreseeable future.

  2. Jeri Baker says

    I would also like to add that more free testing is needed for the residents of both Lyme and Old Lyme. Testing is critical for so many reasons including accurate data collection. Notifying our residents of the recent testing conducted on Friday, December 4th at the Old Lyme Senior Center (a site that serves both towns) was poorly done. It was not a senior center event and was hosted by and the responsibility of Old Lyme Emergency Management. If anyone needed to plan a ride either with a family member, friend or through 9Transit, they would have found it very difficult with less than 24 hours notice through the channels Old Lyme used to alert its residents. In a community that has a very large senior population, I would have hoped for better communication. As chair of the Board of Directors of the Senior Center, I was dismayed to say the least.

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