CT towns considering whether to lift COVID mask mandate; towns that already have hoping infection rates stay low

Hartford

MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Many towns in the state are considering whether to lift mask mandates this week. Several towns have already done so, including Manchester. We were there on Sunday and spoke with residents about the shift.

RELATED: What type of mask should I be wearing right now?

In Manchester at the Urban Lodge on Sunday, families were out enjoying dinner and not having to wear masks anymore. Manchester was mandating masks regardless of vaccination status, but this past Friday town leaders decided to roll back the rule.

COVID-19 positivity rates are going down and many people have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I hope it’s a good sign,” said Manchester Mayor Jay Moran. “What’s really good is that, you know, we’re really close to 80 percent of eligible people at least got the first shot in Manchester, and close to 98 percent of 65 and older have got it…We will recommend wearing the mask inside because of the variant, but not mandating businesses have to do it.”

The mayor adds that their infection rate has dropped to around 20 new cases a day. Masks are still required in city buildings.

Nearby Glastonbury, Windsor, Danbury, and South Windsor have also lifted their mask mandates. West Hartford will get rid of theirs Friday, Oct. 22.

In Glastonbury Sunday, it’s a spin on a carnival ride at the Apple Harvest Festival.

At the festival, Kevin Larsen of East Hartford told us, “I think we have natural immunity, you know, and that should count for something…I’m one of the 99 percent who survived. It’s time to get back to normal.”

Imra Akbar of Glastonbury said, “If people have the shot and can provide identification then you are okay.”

But not everyone is comfortable.

Chris Alexander of Glastonbury, added, “I’m out here with a mask on and I feel like it’s not hurting me, or impairing anybody else and doesn’t have me coughing on anyone.”

Meantime, the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved the vaccine for kids age five to 11.

Connecticut’s new Department of Public Health commissioner told reporters this week she would support a mandate for children if the FDA approves the shot.

Dr. Manisha Juthani said, “I would support this type of initiative down the line. We need to see approvals for some of these vaccines, and I need to see where things land. I have not seen the data. But ultimately, we have vaccine mandates for many other vaccines.”

While scientifically she supports the childhood mandate, Dr. Juthani said she would still have to talk to Governor Ned Lamont, who has said any vaccine for kids should be voluntary.

Towns like West Hartford and Wethersfield will decide this week whether to ditch the masks. The statewide mandate on buses and trains, in hospitals, and in schools will remain.

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