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Hartford, Bridgeport, Stamford Reinstate Mask Mandates

August 10, 2021

One by one, Connecticut’s biggest cities are reviving mask mandates, as Hartford, Bridgeport and Stamford Tuesday announced they would follow New Haven in requiring masks regardless of vaccination status in public spaces such as businesses and restaurants.

Hartford and Bridgeport’s new mandates begin Tuesday at midnight. Stamford’s begins Thursday at 8 a.m. Norwalk said later in the day that it, too, would reinstate a mask mandate beginning Friday. An executive order last week by Gov. Ned Lamont allows municipal leaders to establish mask requirements in their town or city.

In Hartford, Mayor Luke Bronin said the city’s mask mandate applies to anyone indoors except for children under age 2, those with medical exceptions and while people eat or drink at restaurants. Masks also would not be required in indoor spaces, including office settings, with partitions between people

“This pandemic will continue to be with us for some time,” says Dr. Ajay Kumar, Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Clinical Officer. “Not at the highest level of what we saw in the first or second surge. I’m hoping, with appropriate diligence, as we’ve shown with masks, that we won’t have another shutdown.”

Stamford Mayor David Martin said masks, besides being required again in all buildings, will also be required at outdoor events with 100 or more people.

Bridgeport’s new rules include all public indoor spaces, with a recommendation that people also wear masks at parks and any other outdoor setting where social distancing is not possible.

Hartford and New Haven were the only Connecticut counties with high transmission levels, until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added New London County late Tuesday afternoon after reporting 275 new cases out of 9,637 tests. The other five counties have moderate transmission levels. Counties with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people in the previous seven days or higher than 10 percent positivity rate qualify as high transmission levels. Moderate levels is 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people or an 8 percent to 9.9 percent positivity rate. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorizes transmission as low, moderate, substantial and high.)

The interactive map below, provided by the CDC, shows county-by-county transmission levels in each state as of Aug. 1:

Gov. Lamont’s executive order allows municipal leaders to movement beyond the state’s current precautions, among them:

  • Unvaccinated people must wear masks while in indoor public places.
  • Everyone must wear masks regardless of vaccination status in settings such as healthcare facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools, and childcare.
  • Masks are not required outdoors.

“It is a fact that pressures of indoor transmission is much greater than outdoor transmission,” says Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist. “Once you put yourself in that indoor environment, you are therefore increasing your risk for transmission – especially the more people who are indoors and the longer you are with them.”