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Lamont Signs Executive Order Allowing Municipalities to Implement Universal Indoor Mask Wearing

  • Executive order by Governor Ned Lamont gives municipal leaders the option of requiring all individuals to wear masks in indoor public places
  • Lamont encourages people to follow CDC guidance to resume indoor masking, but does not issue a statewide mask mandate
  • Delta variant has led to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Connecticut in recent weeks

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Connecticut cities and towns will have the ability to implement stricter mask requirements under a new executive order issued by Governor Ned Lamont.

The order provides municipal leaders with the option of requiring masks in indoor public places for all individuals, including those who have completed their vaccine series. Lamont said he  issued the order at the request of municipal leaders seeking to reinstate universal masking rules. However, he said he did not believe that a statewide mask mandate is necessary since several municipalities have extremely high vaccination rates and Connecticut as a whole has one of the highest vaccination rates in the United States.

The spread of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 has led to an uptick in cases as well as a revival of strategies aimed at curtailing the virus, including a resumption of masking rules, businesses delaying their return to office timeline, and vaccine mandates requiring workers or customers to be vaccinated to visit certain venues.

Connecticut has seen its COVID-19 cases increase due to the Delta variant, with the daily test positivity rate on Thursday standing at 2.72 percent. Hospitalizations dropped by eight to 155, with three additional deaths. Seven of the state’s 169 municipalities are designated as red zones with 15 or more cases per 100,000 people.

About 2.1 million people in Connecticut have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. There have been 1,171 breakthrough cases as of Aug. 3, representing less than 0.06 percent of the fully vaccinated population.

Since Connecticut relaxed its business restrictions on May 19, mask requirements have only remained in place in certain places. These include health care facilities, schools, public and private transit, correctional facilities, child care facilities, and facilities housing vulnerable populations. Masks can also be required by businesses, private properties, and state or municipal government offices.

Under new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, people ages two and older are strongly encouraged to wear masks in indoor public locations regardless of their vaccination status. This recommendation applies to all counties designated as having high or substantial risk of COVID-19 transmission, and all Connecticut counties currently fall into the latter category.

Lamont recently said he is not currently planning more stringent COVID-19 restrictions, although he and the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health raised concerns about local outbreaks. On Thursday, he encouraged people to get vaccinated and to follow CDC guidance and resume indoor masking.

The executive order also accelerates the implementation of legislation requiring unvaccinated nursing home workers to get tested weekly for COVID-19, making it effective immediately. The bill was originally set to take effect on Oct. 1.

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