Shelton Community Center closes pool, gym; restaurants only offering delivery, take out
The Shelton Community Center is postponing activities and closing its pool, gym and fitness room in the latest moves to limit large groups gathering in the city.
This announcement comes after Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday joined leaders of New York and New Jersey in stepping up public pressure to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order called for closure of all restaurants and bars that serve food for eat-in customers.
Bars that did not serve food closed immediately, with a targeted April 30 date for reopening. In a revised executive decision, movie theaters, gyms, fitness centers, sporting and recreational centers and studios were ordered to lock their doors at 8 p.m. Monday, during the region’s expanding attempt to cut down on the spread of COVID-19.
Only take-out meals and food deliveries are allowed until the governor orders otherwise. Shopping malls and gas stations will remain open in the crisis, which has provoked fast-moving public health responses.
Local restaurants are also preparing for no dining in, with only take out and delivery as the options until early next month.
Dan Camporeale, owner of Matto Wine Bar, at 389 Bridgeport Ave. in Shelton, said his operation offers takeout and is presently working out the logistics of a delivery service, which he said Matto has not offered in the past.
“We’re going to do what we are told, and hopefully people will be brave enough to come out for delivery,” said Camporeale, adding that he is offering a 20 percent discount on all takeout orders.
With the uptick in virus cases in Connecticut last week, and the governor’s call for people not to gather in groups larger than 50, Camporeale said his business dropped 50 percent. He said the restaurant enjoyed a day or two when pick-up orders spiked as in-restaurant customers stayed away.
“We’re all going through this together,” said Camporeale. “We’ve all seen the store shelves … they are empty, so there are a lot of people stocked up for a long haul. We are just hoping to fill a need, and we’re hoping that people will help us. This is not easy, and we all need to work through it together, helping each other.”
Mathew Calandro, owner of Calaroso Eatery & Bar in downtown Shelton, said he anticipated such a shutdown and had spent all of Monday and Sunday sterilizing every inch of the establishment at 100 Center St.
Calandro said the restaurant has always offered takeout but never delivery. That changed Tuesday, March 17.
He said that over the past few days, the restaurant has seen a 70 percent drop in dining room revenue, while takeout increased and the bar customers remained steady.
“I would say that we had a solid weekend with the bar,” said Calandro. “A lot of our regulars came out to support us. We have great customers.”
Calandro said Calaroso Eatery & Bar will be offering takeout specials, and he hopes the delivery requests will help during what he expects will be a tight time financially. He has even asked his employees to file now for unemployment since there is so much uncertainty about COVID-19. He hopes to bring some employees back if deliveries become consistent, but “I just don’t know.
“My top priority is to help our employees, our community and our customers,” said Calandro. “We do not want to waste food, we want to be moving food out quickly and help our community when we can.”
The governor’s order led to the closure of the Shelton Community Center’s pool, gym and fitness center on Monday until further notice. All other Shelton Parks and Recreation activities will also be postponed until further notice. Outside groups and rentals with less than 50 attendees may still utilize the building at this time if they choose to do so. People can call the center’s cancellation line at 203-331-4120 for updates.
In a related development, Stop & Shop stores announced an adjustment to hours of operation — 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. — so staff can unload deliveries and stock shelves. And effective Thursday the supermarket chain will be open from 6 a.m. until 7:30 for customers aged 60 and older, who have been classified as the most-vulnerable, to better enable social distancing.
Adams Hometown Market, 200 Leavenworth Road, has set aside 7 to 8 a.m. daily as shopping time for first responders, immunocompromised and the elderly.
Stores and supermarkets will be expected to offer crowd control measures to try to stay within recommended congregation levels, which were 250 last week, but were cut to 50 by the governors’ agreement.