NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Three cities in the state have issued executive orders requiring the public and essential works to wear face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Joe Ganim of Bridgeport announced Thursday, it is now required for individuals to use face masks or other facial coverings in public places in the city of Bridgeport.
The mandate is in place, Ganim says, “to slow the spread of COVID-19” and requires people wear masks in parks, local establishments, and businesses.
The order goes into effect Friday.
Effective April 17th, 2020, Mayor Ganim requires the use of store-bought, homemade masks and/or the use of other items such as bandanas and scarfs in accordance with the Center for Communicable Diseases (CDC) and other federal and/or State of Connecticut guidelines
The use of medical-grade masks or N95 respirators is discouraged; those masks are or may be in short supply and should be reserved for health-care personnel or first responders.– Mayor Joe Ganim/ Bridgeport, CT
The move follows a similar executive order in New Haven on Wednesday that shoppers in will now be required to wear face masks when in stores. That order will begin Friday morning.
Elicker clarified that residents do not need to wear medical-grade N95 masks; cloth masks made of a towel or cloth (even made yourself at home) at the least is what is required.
You should not feel any need to purchase a mask–cloth masks can include the use of a towel, handkerchief, or other cloth covering. If you use the internet, there are a lot of great suggestions on how to make a mask online.Mayor Justin Elicker/ New Haven, CT
The order also requires employers to provide masks to employees in businesses still open during the pandemic. If employees would like to use their own masks, they can.
The mayor says “this is something important for people to get used to because this will provide us more tools to protect other people from spreading the virus and is a tool we can use in the long run to mitigate the potential spread of the virus.”
Health officials added they are trying to ensure they are protecting everyone with this order. “When we are talking about messaging and safety [this is] the social-responsibility for each of us to provide a proactive approach for everyone to feel safe when they are in close proximity to others.”
Hamden Mayor Curt Leng made a similar announcement on Wednesday. That order is set to be enacted on April 17 as well. The use of face coverings is required for use by all members of the public and employers in Hamden. Additionally, retail businesses must provide all workers with face-coverings and can refuse customers who are not wearing face masks.
“Wearing a facial covering protects your neighbors, your mom, dad, brother and sister, and it keeps our community safer and stronger. One day, we will get past these strange and dark times,” Mayor Leng said. “But for now, we’ve got to be mindful – and frankly, we all have to care enough and give a damn to make a difference and I know that’s what our community can rally behind.”
Stop&Shop grocery store chain also made the announcement Wednesday that all shoppers across the state would be required to wear a mask when in their stores moving forward.
This comes after the mayor closed playgrounds at schools and other parks across the city because law enforcement officials were seeing groups of individuals not practicing social-distancing policies.
As of Wednesday, the city has 775 confirmed coronavirus cases and 19 confirmed deaths. Health officials say the city’s death rate from the virus is now up to 2.5%.
While this is a difficult time, your commitment to social distancing, staying home and wearing masks is already slowing the spread of the virus. Thank you for what you are doing. I encourage you all to stay home and stay safe.Mayor Justin Elicker/ New Haven, CT
New Haven Police Department also reported Wednesday that they have six officers who are out of work after testing positive for the virus, 1 who has recovered and returned to work, and five who are “one the mend.” Eighteen additional officers are out of work and home isolating after being exposed to the virus.