Norwich and New London are reevaluating their COVID-19 rules as cases spread rapidly in the region. Starting next week, both cities will require masks inside city-owned buildings.
"We felt that was the prudent thing to do," said John Salomone, Norwich city manager.
New London county is one of six counties in Connecticut that is seeing significant COVID-19 transmission, meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended threshold for universal indoor masking.
Salomone said they have had workers in city hall test positive for the virus recently. Starting Monday masks will be required in city buildings for all visitors and employees.
"This is for their protection and our protection. We are not trying to be the mask police, but we think it’s a prudent assignment of risk and our employees are right on the forefront and we want to keep them as safe as we can," said Salomone.
New London's mask requirement will go into effect Tuesday, August 3. There will be warning signs posted at the entrance to city buildings along with a supply of unused masks for visitors. The city notes that if someone cannot wear a mask because of a medical condition or if someone has a religious objection, they can call ahead and make an appointment for service.
According to a press release from Mayor Michael Passero, the city's finance building will be open to the public by appointment only.
Passero stressed the importance of the new requirement because of new data that shows fully vaccinated people who are infected with the delta variant might be infectious and can spread the virus to others.