CT cities, towns can now implement universal mask requirements; unvaccinated nursing home staff must get weekly COVID tests

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont signed two new COVID-19-related executive orders Thursday.

With the first, Connecticut cities and towns will be able to decide most of their own mask mandates moving forward. It gives “municipal leaders the option of requiring masks in indoor public places within their respective towns and cities for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status…This means that municipal leaders will now have the option of moving beyond the minimum requirements in the statewide policy on masks implemented by Governor Lamont in May.”

The statewide policy is currently:

  • Unvaccinated people must wear masks while in indoor public places
  • Everyone must wear masks regardless of vaccination status while inside certain settings, such as healthcare facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools, and childcare, pursuant to an order from the commissioner of the Department of Public Health
  • Masks are not required outdoors
  • Individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear masks indoors if required in the commissioner’s order for special settings or by a municipality
  • Businesses, private property owners, and state and local government offices may require masks to be worn by everyone inside of their own facilities

RELATED: Governor Lamont urges ‘common sense’, not mask mandates

The governor issued the order to give town and city leaders more control of their mask requirements. He has said he does not believe in a statewide mask mandate at this time.

“Connecticut has one of the highest vaccination rates in the entire nation, and for that, the residents of our state are to be applauded,” Governor Lamont said. “That being said, there are some pockets of the state that are lagging behind others, and some leaders in those areas have requested the option of requiring everyone to wear masks until they can get their vaccination rates higher. While I continue to strongly advise that everyone wear masks while inside of public locations as recommended by the CDC, I urge everyone to get vaccinated because it’s the best thing you can do to protect yourself from this ongoing virus.”

The State Department of Public Health and Department of Education are still reviewing their plan for mask policies in schools. That updated policy will be released prior to the start of the upcoming school year.

The second executive order signed Thursday requires unvaccinated nursing home staff to get tested for COVID-19 every week.

The order takes effect immediately.

Section 6 of Public Act 21-185 enables the Connecticut Department of Public Health to require the testing of nursing home staff and residents for an infectious disease during an outbreak at a frequency as determined by the department.

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