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Connecticut towns and cities are split on lifting local mask mandates

Courtesy coyot / pixabay.com

Some towns and cities across Connecticut will not consider lifting their local mask mandates until COVID-19 infection rates decrease regionally.

The City of Norwalk has one of the lowest case rates of all the big cities in the last two weeks. The city reported its positivity rate is just under 2%, which is lower than Bridgeport, Hartford and Stamford. Despite this, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling said he will not lift the city mask mandate because Fairfield county is still in the “substantial risk category” set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s been a difficult time that we’re dealing with and people are frustrated,” Rilling said. “We want to see some degree of normalcy. Having said that, we're hoping that things go well and we’ll lift the mask mandate and move forward as quickly as the numbers suggest to do so.”

In other parts of the county, the town of Fairfield dropped its mask mandate at the start of the month.

Fairfield First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said she made the decision after the state downgraded the Town from red to orange, and, since then, downgraded to yellow.

“During the weeks leading up to my decision, we saw a consistent downward trend across case rates and hospitalizations, which has also been seen statewide and across the country,” Kupchick said in a statement to WSHU that she will continue to track case trends.

New Haven County was upgraded by the Center for Disease Control to “high transmission” of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The city of New Haven plans to keep mask requirements for indoor public places, as positivity rates have reached 2.4%.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said he does not plan to lift the mandate anytime soon.

“As we go into the winter months, where people are more likely to be indoors, it is even more important that people wear masks to keep each other safe,” Elicker said, adding that the next step to beating the pandemic is vaccinating eligible children.

Across the state, Manchester, Glastonbury, Windsor, Danbury, and South Windsor lifted their mandates this week.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.