While Gov. Ned Lamont is urging people statewide to wear masks in public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayors of New Haven and Hamden have taken it a step farther to require people to wear facemasks in public starting Friday.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said Wednesday that he has issued an emergency order that goes into effect on Friday morning, requiring people to use facemasks in essential retail businesses, including grocery stores, big-box stores, restaurants, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and package stores.
Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng’s emergency order goes into effect at 5 a.m. Friday and orders the public to use of face at retail businesses, including grocery stores and big-box stores or wholesale clubs that also sell food or beverages; at restaurants and hotels where food is prepared; at pharmacies; gas stations; convenience stores; and liquor stores.
Leng said proprietors could refuse customers from entering if they do not have a face covering.
New Haven and Hamden are also requiring owners of essential retail businesses to provide facemasks to all workers.
Elicker said people shouldn’t feel any need to purchase a mask. They can use cloth masks, such as a towel, handkerchief or other cloth covering.
Leng urged people to ensure that medical masks and first responder masks are available for the people who need them to keep us safe and well.
He said all workers required to wear these face coverings must wash any reusable face coverings at least once a day. Single-use face coverings must be properly discarded into trash receptacles and disposed of.
“Facial coverings do not make people safe from exposure to the Coronavirus. Residents should not in any way consider this order as a tool to go out more often at a time when shelter in place is the very best way to slow and eventually end the spread of this virus,” Leng, said in a statement “Instead, it’s an added tool to keep people safe when they have an essential need and must go out and into a setting with other people where social distancing isn’t guaranteed.”
People are urged to continue stay at least six feet away from others.
“This is not our normal behavior, but for the sake of public health and safety -- to save lives, it is not too much to ask,” Leng said in a statement. We all have a friend or loved one who is in a high-risk category or is immunocompromised. Let’s make the smart decisions together as a community and take the precautions needed to protect those close to us, as well as our friends and neighbors.”
Governor Lamont said Wednesday that it's time to be "strict" with wearing masks and wants employers and employees across the state to wear masks in any place where public interactions are taking place.
He singled out grocery stores as a business where he wants to see masks worn.
While the governor is urging people to wear masks, he said he will probably issue an executive order within days.
Lamont said right now it's a strong recommendation but that "it will probably be reflected" in an executive order within the next two days.
The governor's recommendation is for cloth-face masks, not surgical masks or N95 respirators, said Josh Geballe, the state's chief operating officer.