By Paul Hughes, Republican-American
HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont plans to continue the current moratorium on residential evictions through Oct. 1, though he indicated this will be the last extension.
The eviction freeze was due to expire Saturday, but Lamont said Thursday he is going to keep the temporary prohibition in place through the end of September, citing the high unemployment rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What was unclear was whether the announced extension would be accomplished through executive or legislative action because the governor’s emergency powers lapse in three weeks.
Lamont issued an executive order April 10 that put a hold on most evictions through June 30, and then he extended the suspension in late June through Aug. 22. He ruled out a third extension after Oct. 1.
“This can’t go on forever, but it is going to go on a little bit longer,” Lamont said.
THE GOVERNOR’S EMERGENCY declarations expire Sept. 9, and so will the dozens of associated executive orders he issued, as well as any additional ones between now and then.
Lamont will either have to issue new emergency declarations to continue the eviction moratorium to Oct. 1 or state legislators will have to authorize such an extension.
The governor’s office is now consulting General Assembly leaders on possible courses of action to continue some of the emergency policies and mandates Lamont imposed, said Paul Mounds, Lamont’s chief of staff.
Lamont said he expects the legislature to return in a special session in September to decide what to do about his emergency directives.
“My instinct is we probably ask the legislature to continue those powers a little bit longer with the necessary checks and balances rather than put every single one of them up for a vote of the legislature, but we’ll see,” he said.
Mounds said the governor’s emergency orders have helped Connecticut check the spread of COVID-19 and safely operate since the coronavirus broke out here in early March.
“When Sept. 9 does arrive, and if those emergency powers are not re-upped in some way, we go back to the world to how it was on March 1, and, let’s be honest, it is going to be hard for us as a state to function as it was on March 1 understanding we’re still in a world epidemic,” he said.
If legislative leaders and the governor’s office can agree on an agenda, Mounds said then Lamont will call for a special session.
“We’re still in the midst of discussions about what potential topics will be moved forward if and when the governor decides to call the legislature back into session,” he said.
AN ADDITIONAL 118 COVID-19 cases were reported statewide Thursday out of 12,415 test results received since Wednesday.
There now have been 51,432 cases reported since early March, and more than 1 million diagnostic tests performed, though this figure includes some multiple tests of the same patients or specimens.
Day-to-day changes in COVID-19 statistics reflect newly reported cases, deaths and tests that occurred over the last several days to a week.
There was one more death reported since Wednesday, bringing the total to 4,457 since the first death was announced in mid-March.
Public health officials reported a net decline of two patients hospitalized with COVID-19 to 47 statewide.
To date, 11,087 patients have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in Connecticut and 8,893 patients have been discharged, according to weekly statistics released Thursday.