City of Hartford Issues Indoor Face Mask Mandate

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The city of Hartford will be instituting an indoor face mask mandate, starting at midnight, becoming the second municipality in Connecticut to do so.

New Haven was the first.  This comes amid a rise in cases of COVID-19 and the spread of the delta variant.

A news release from Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s office said he will hold a news conference this afternoon to announce that the city of Hartford is issuing an indoor mask mandate, which goes into effect at midnight.

The face mask mandate will be in effect for anyone indoors in Hartford, except for those with relevant medical conditions, children under the age of 2, while eating or drinking, and for people who are alone in an indoor space or in an office setting where there are partitions between them and other people. 

The level of community transmission of COVID-19 in Hartford County is high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High is the highest of the four levels.

“Our case rate has more than doubled over the last two weeks, and we’ve seen similar increases in other cities as well – even those with different demographics and vaccination rates,” Bronin said in a statement. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Leslie Torres Rodriguez also outlined a plan for the school year.

Like last year, everyone in school, students and staff, will be required to wear masks.

There will be four changes to school policies from last year"

  • Vaccinated students and staff will not have to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic
  • All in-person learning this year, there will be no remote-learning option
  • Spacing inside the school will be three feet instead of six feet
  • Visitors will be allowed in school buildings, provided they go through a health screening process and abide by all COVID protocols

The state of Connecticut is requiring unvaccinated people to wear masks while in indoor public places.

Everyone must wear masks regardless of vaccination status while inside certain settings, such as healthcare facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools, and childcare.

However, the Connecticut Department of Public Health strongly recommends that all Connecticut residents over 2 years old, whether vaccinated against the virus or unvaccinated, return to wearing masks when in indoor public spaces. 

And Gov. Ned Lamont had issued an executive order that allows municipalities to issue mask mandates instead of issuing one statewide order.

“We’re instituting a mask mandate tonight to slow the spread as we continue our vaccination efforts, and we’ll assess this mandate on an ongoing basis over the next few weeks,” Bronin said in a statement. 

“COVID-19 is going to be with us in some form for a while, but if enough folks get vaccinated, we’ll hopefully get to a place where we can treat it like the flu.  But right now, too many people – especially children – remain vulnerable. We’re not asking folks to avoid going out to dinner or to the store – just wear a mask if you do.  It’s a minor inconvenience that will help us all lead relatively normal lives.  One of the things we’ve learned throughout this pandemic is that the best time to act is before it’s obvious that action is necessary, and the last thing we want is to be looking back just as school is starting and wishing we’d done more to slow this spike,” the statement from the mayor says.  

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