Currently, mayors and town leaders do not have the authority to mandate mask requirements for private establishments. But that could soon change.
Gov. Ned Lamont wants towns and cities to have more control over Covid-19 regulations. Within the week, Lamont said he will announce a plan to give mayors more authority to institute more regulations.
“I think we’re going to give a greenlight to mayors to be able to have a higher security standard if they think it’s necessary,” said Lamont.
Although he revealed few details, Lamont said a plan could be announced later this week that would broaden the reach of cities and towns in an effort to stop the current spike of Covid-19 infections.
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In Hartford, masks are already required in all city-owned buildings. With the possibility of expanded authority, Mayor Luke Bronin said the city will consider if broader action is needed.
“We welcome that flexibility and we will assess over the next couple of days what requirements we want to put in place here in Hartford,” said Bronin.
In Manchester, a mask requirement in town buildings was put in place Wednesday. Mayor Jay Moran said that decision was done after careful consultation with the town’s department of health, which is the way Moran says all future decisions will also be handled.
“We make them together with a group of health people. I think it’s best for the health of our community,” said Moran.
Giving municipalities more authority is a shift from mid pandemic when Lamont went with a statewide approach. What’s changed, he says, is the state’s high vaccination rate. Still there are gaps he’d like addressed.
“We’ve got towns where less than 50% of the people are vaccinated. We’ve got towns where 99% of the people are vaccinated. So, I think giving some flexibility there makes a fair amount of sense,” Lamont explained.