Ansonia mayor says ‘no’ to mask mandate, doubles down on COVID vaccinations

New Haven

ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH) — Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti is watching the developments with the COVID-19 Delta variant every day — keeping a close eye on daily information from Gov. Ned Lamont. But, when it comes to implementing an indoor mask mandate in Ansonia, he tells News 8 he’s leaning against it.

“I’m very concerned about the spread of this virus,” said Mayor Cassetti. “I’m looking to see how many people are going to be vaccinated.”

RELATED: CDC: New Haven County classified as first in CT with high COVID community transmission

Mayor Cassetti tells News 8 he has another plan to fight the Delta variant. Monday, he opened up another free vaccination clinic in Ansonia on Fourth Street inside the Harry Francis Ford Community Center. He plans to keep it up and running, along with Griffin Health, every Monday and Wednesday through October.

But, there was a problem on this first day…no one showed. By midday, only five people had shown up to get their shots.

News 8 asked Mayor Cassetti if he was dismayed by the turnout. “Yes, I am,” the mayor responded.

News 8 then asked if he still thought the new clinics are better than issuing a mask mandate when it comes to combatting the virus.

“Yes, absolutely,” he answered. “Because we’re being vaccinated. If more people get vaccinated the safer it’s going to be. We won’t need to wear the masks. Plus, this is a personal option, I mean, I don’t want to mandate people wearing the masks because there are some people who don’t wish to wear it but do wish to get a vaccination.”

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

Across the street from the clinic on Fourth Street, Marsha Mills offered a thought on the low turnout. “I didn’t know there was a clinic here,” Mills admitted.

Mayor Cassetti said the city would work harder to let people know about it. The city is also offering incentives to anyone who gets their shot — tickets to Quassy Amusement Park or discounts to meals at one of 30 participating Ansonia restaurants.

“It’s still early and we will get the word out,” he said.

Mayor Cassetti says the possible negative economic impact to restaurants is a factor in his mask mandate hesitation. A group enjoying lunch outside Crave restaurant in downtown Ansonia Monday told News 8 a mask mandate could take another bite out of profits.

“One thousand percent,” said Amanda Varrone. “Especially if they’re going to be mandated that you’re not going to be allowed to walk in.”

Even though there is no citywide mask mandate in Ansonia, there is one for city hall and other city government buildings.

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