WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The guard who stands at the front entrance of Waterbury City Hall often has his hands full. These days they’re full of face masks for people who try to enter the building without one.
The city is now requiring face masks again at city hall, The Chase Building across the street (which houses the school district headquarters and the Education Department), and at Jefferson Square (which houses the city’s health department).
You can blame the rise on the spread of the Delta variant.
“We’ve gone from what we were seeing about 11 new infections a day to a high — as of yesterday — of 36 per day,” said Adam Rinko, Waterbury’s Director of Emergency Management. “In an abundance of caution for our city employees at city hall and for our visitors that come to city hall and come to the Chase Municipal Building, and down at Jefferson Square, and then obviously in all our school and education facilities, there was a mask mandate put back into place.”
Rinko says it was put back in place on Monday. The mask mandate for the city’s schools and educational facilities, including school buses, is welcome news at All-Star Transportation, one of the city’s school bus companies.
“I think it helps keep our drivers safe, our monitors safe, keeps our kids healthy,” said Brenda Bass, Director of Training at All-Star Transportation.
Bass showed News 8 the steps her company is taking to keep buses clean from COVID and the Delta variant. She says drivers spray disinfectant at least three times a day to keep everything as sterilized as possible.
“After every route after the children get off, before we go pick up the new kids, we are spraying this disinfectant on all of the seats,” Bass said.
The last disinfectant is sprayed at the end of the day and comes from a special pump sanitizer.
“A high mist of all the area,” Bass said. “Everything gets done with this and sits overnight. So, this is a very intense cleaning and sanitizing of everything.”
Rinko says the city has reconvened its weekly COVID-19 Task Force, which brings together the medical community with first responders and city officials.
“Bringing those folks in gives us a much wider view of what’s going on in the community,” Rinko said.
Rinko has this message for those who do not want to go back to wearing face masks:
“I don’t think anybody relishes the fact of having to reimplement a mask policy or any sort of restrictions based on COVID-19, but unfortunately for the protection of everybody — and again — out of an abundance of caution — it’s the wisest move,” Rinko said.
He also points to something he believes is a positive development in the city.
“There is a bright spot in all of this,” Rinko said. “We’ve seen over a 60 percent increase in our vaccination center traffic.”