WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Town of West Hartford is implementing a universal indoor mask mandate for public spaces, which will go into effect at noon on Thursday.
Mayor Shari G. Cantor said this will be a “temporary measure,” and town officials will evaluate the need to continue the mandate.
“We believe this step is necessary given the current trajectory of infection rates and the number of neighboring communities implementing similar requirements,” the mayor said.
West Hartford Town Manager Matt Hart, who signed an executive order for the mandate Wednesday, told News 8 he wanted to keep in line with surrounding towns and cities that are doing the same.
“We’re very, very concerned about the reduction of the infection rate and we’re certainly at an all-time high,” Hart said.
He said this is a first step in combatting the virus and lowering cases of COVID along with the highly transmissible omicron variant.
“Now with the omicron variant being so highly contagious, we’re encouraging people to wear an N95 or to double mask,” Hart said. “If they’re worn properly, they can work.”
Friends Zoe Legrow and Julia Grant said the indoor mask mandate is a simple ask.
“I don’t think it’s hard for people to wear a mask so I don’t think it’s a bad way to prevent the spread of COVID,” Legrow said.
“Knowing what it’s like to quarantine and stuff it’s kind of really hard so I’d just rather not do that,” Grant said.
The order includes exceptions for people unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, including children under the age of two and people who are eating and drinking.
Cantor said a regional and statewide universal masking requirement would make sense.
“COVID-19 does not stop at municipal borders, and our hospitals and healthcare delivery systems are all regional assets that serve multiple communities,” Cantor said. “There should be one common statewide and regional standard.”
Gov. Ned Lamont has said numerous times that he is not considering a statewide mask mandate, instead leaving it up to city and town officials.