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Connecticut DPH Recommends That Businesses Continue to Require Masks When Social Distancing Not Possible

  • Connecticut Department of Public Health issues detailed guidelines on mask protocols after state lifts mask mandate for individuals vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Department recommends that businesses continue to require masks when social distancing is not possible or in circumstances more likely to have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals
  • Masks will still be required in several venues, and businesses or event organizers can still require employees or customers to wear them

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

After Connecticut lifted its remaining COVID-19 business restrictions and mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals on Wednesday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health issued updated guidance on mask policies.

The guidance recommends that businesses and event organizers continue to require masks when social distancing is not possible. Masks will also be required in certain venues where the spread of COVID-19 is more likely to occur.

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Connecticut is no longer requiring individuals who are fully vaccinated to wear a mask indoors. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive their final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Business and event guidance

DPH recommends that business owners and event organizers continue to require masks indoors, at large indoor events, and at large outdoor gatherings if social distancing is not possible. It also suggests that businesses can post signs reminding unvaccinated individuals to wear masks, and invite customers or visitors to wear masks if they feel more comfortable doing so.

Masks are also recommended for:

  • Any venues or events that are more likely to have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, including children under the age of 12 (who are currently not cleared to receive a COVID-19 vaccine)
  • Employees who are unvaccinated, whose vaccination status is unknown, or who are unable to maintain social distancing from co-workers or customers

DPH says event planners should prepare for reduced capacity in case an event needs to be moved from an outdoor venue to an indoor one and a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals is likely in attendance. The department says this could include denying entry to ticketed holders if a change in venue is necessary.

The recommendations also advise businesses to consider redesigning their interior space to allow for better social distancing and incorporating CDC recommendations on cleaning, disinfecting, hand washing, and improved ventilation.

DPH says the guidance is based on the fact that there is “no convenient, reliable, and consistent way to determine a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.” It says this means businesses and large events continue to be a potential source of significant COVID-19 outbreaks, especially among vulnerable populations and communities that are not yet fully vaccinated.

Who can go without a mask

DPH says fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or observe social distancing in appropriate indoor or outdoor settings. They also no longer need to quarantine if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 but show no symptoms, and don’t need to get tested routinely (including as a work requirement, before or after travel, or after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 if they show no symptoms).

Unvaccinated people should still wear a mask indoors, as well as outdoors in large gatherings where social distancing is not feasible. These individuals should also continue to quarantine when exposed to someone with COVID-19 and get tested after exposure, as a work requirement, or before or after travel.

DPH says the distinction is being made because unvaccinated individuals are more likely to be infected with COVID-19, develop a severe case, or spread the virus. Vaccinated individuals are much less likely to contract the virus, and are also less likely to spread it if a breakthrough case occurs.

Where masks are still required

Masks are still required in the following areas:

  • Schools
  • Health care facilities
  • Congregate settings such as assisted living facilities or prisons
  • Transportation hubs like airports or train stations
  • Public transportation, including ride-sharing services

DPH says these venues are more likely to have individuals who can’t be vaccinated due to their young age or health issues, or people who are at a higher risk of developing severe complications if they contract COVID-19. Some venues were also selected because it is more difficult to maintain social distancing there.

Businesses and event organizers may also continue to require employees or customers to wear masks.

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