Gov. Ned Lamont is coming under increasing pressure from cities and towns across Connecticut to issue a statewide indoor mask mandate.
The Capital Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) sent a letter to Lamont Thursday requesting that he institute a mandate to wear masks indoors throughout the state.
CRCOG is made up of 38 municipalities in the Greater Hartford region.
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So far, Lamont has said he doesn't believe a statewide mandate is necessary. He signed an executive order earlier this month giving the leaders of cities and towns the ability to issue their own mask mandates.
At a press conference Thursday Lamont said he wanted to leave it up to local officials to determine if a mask mandate is necessary in their areas, noting that different areas of the state are seeing different rates of case increases and some have better vaccination rates than others. He added that he wants to continue to offer an incentive for people to get vaccinated but warned that if the numbers keep trending up, he may reconsider.
"To be blunt about it, get back to me in a week. We're going to continue to watch these numbers very carefully. if we find that we can't continue to have a flattening of the curve, that things are going up, it could change" he said.
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Leaders of most of the CRCOG member municipalities discussed the need for mask mandates on a call Thursday.
"Our 60-minute conversation focused on our need to be proactive, follow the science, and discuss the benefits an indoor mask-wearing mandate would have in our communities," East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said in the letter to Lamont. "We also acknowledged the difficulty individual towns would have in enforcing a mandate at the municipal level. Since the transmission of COVID-19 does not stop at municipal borders or regional boundaries, we also worry that an imposition of a mask mandate on a town-by-town basis would not be as impactful as a statewide mandate."
This latest request brings the total number of cities and towns requesting a statewide mask mandate from Gov. Lamont to 60.
CRCOG asked that the governor put the mandate in place until the COVID-19 infection rate in Connecticut is in decline and when counties in the state are no longer in the CDC's high or substantial COVID-19 transmission categories.
The cities and towns that make up CRCOG are:
- East Granby
- East Hartford
- East Windsor
- New Britain
- Rocky Hill
- South Windsor
- West Hartford
- Windsor Locks