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Rilling mandates masks for everyone visiting public indoor settings in Norwalk

“This entire state of Connecticut is in the state of substantial (COVID-19) transmission, the orange level trending towards red like a lot of the the rest of the country, 75% of the country is now in the red zone, which means that their high level of transmission transmission and it’s mostly the Delta virus. And it’s 90% of the people that are contracting the virus are unvaccinated. So we’re trying to encourage people to go out and get vaccinated,” Mayor Harry Rilling said at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. — Mayor Harry Rilling has issued an order requiring everyone – vaccinated or not – to wear a mask in public indoor spaces.

The order is effective when the clock ticks over to Friday the 13th. This Friday, at 12:01 a.m.

“The Mayor’s executive order affects all establishments in Norwalk, such as bars, gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, hardware stores, and supermarkets where physical distancing cannot be maintained. This order will be enforced by the Norwalk Police Department and Norwalk Health Department,” the announcement stated.

The news comes as the Delta variant causes increased COVID-19 hospitalizations and anxiety nationwide. It also follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommending that everyone wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission, and an executive order issued by Gov. Ned Lamont last week allowing leaders of Connecticut’s cities and towns to impose their own mask mandates for indoor public places.

Cases in Norwalk and test positivity rate continue to climb, to “levels we have not seen in months,” Rilling said in the announcement. “Last year, we began seeing a resurgence in cases in late September. However, we are starting to see that trend happen now. Transmission is high, and we are following the CDC guidelines.”

“While the Governor’s current executive order requires unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors, the spread of the Delta variant and rising case rates prompted Mayor Rilling to extend the order locally across Norwalk to all people,” the news release said.

Rilling’s Friday update highlighted an action taken in New York City: citizens must show proof of vaccination for indoor dining and other activities.

“I am concerned that we could see an influx of unvaccinated visitors in Norwalk and across Lower Fairfield County, where these types of mandates are not in place,” Rilling said.

The test positivity rate has gone up for four consecutive weeks, the update said.

“Over the last month, the COVID-19 test positivity rate in Norwalk went from under 1% to over 3%, and the case rate climbed from less than 5 cases per 100,000 population to over 10 per 100,000 population,” it said. “While Norwalk and Fairfield County remain in the substantial, or orange, level of virus transmission per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, nearly 75 percent of the country is at high, or red, level of transmission. Norwalk and the rest of the state is trending in the direction of high community transmission.”

Cases of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated people are reportedly rare.

“The Connecticut Department of Public Health reported that as of August 3, 2021, a total of 1,171 cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated persons in Connecticut have been confirmed,” Tuesday’s news release said. “Of the more than 2.1 million people in Connecticut who have completed their vaccine series, less than 0.06% of fully vaccinated persons in Connecticut have contracted the virus. The majority of new cases and hospitalizations around the state continue to be those who are not vaccinated.”

“Getting more people vaccinated will help us beat this pandemic,” Rilling said. “I encourage those eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Let’s all double down on our efforts to stop the spread of this virus and keep each other safe. If you are eligible, please get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

COVID19 Update – August 6, 2021[8262]

25 comments

John Levin August 11, 2021 at 6:20 am

okay. masks will be mandatory, but vaccination remains optional. Our military has figured out how to do this the right way.

Jason Milligan August 11, 2021 at 6:30 am

What is the exact crime and charge for not requiring a mask as a store owner or not wearing a mask as a customer?

John O'Neill August 11, 2021 at 8:58 am

To put things in context: At the height of the Covid Crisis Fairfield County had 800+ people in Hospital Beds. Today there are 40 people hospitalized. The vast majority of which of NON-Vaccinated.
In my opinion the ONLY person to listen to right now is Scott Gottlieb. He is the most professional level headed Doctor we have heard from. Fauci is Machiavellian and Wallensky is so emotional her statements are questionable. Weston’s own Scott Gottlieb has been steady, informative and TRUTHFUL.

Patrick McMahon August 11, 2021 at 9:32 am

This is one of the more ridiculous executive orders I’ve seen. I understood it in the past to protect the vulnerable, now we are just protecting the stupid. I understand children are more susceptible to Delta, and protecting them is paramount, but at the end of the day, if all eligible individuals got vaccinated we wouldn’t be in this position.

I will follow the rules in hopes of getting in the good graces of the regime so I can have the opportunity to be a Commander when we inevitably enter into a Handmaids Tale-esque dystopian society.

Shelley August 11, 2021 at 11:19 am

Why the fear mongering? Connecticut on Tuesday reported 275 new COVID-19 cases out of 9,637 tests, for a positivity rate of 2.85%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate now stands at 3.22%, up slightly from Monday and the highest it has been since April 15. The CDC labels the level of community transmission as high…transmission is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 10% or higher.
We had to wait until we reach 5% positivity to fully open. What gives?!!!

Bryan Meek August 11, 2021 at 1:43 pm

This is just another total failure of our local government. They’ve had 18 months to figure out how to get an ordinance on the books giving the Mayor this power that he believes he has.

When did the Board of Health meet, publicly, and decree this? Chapter 57 of the code is pretty clear on who might have this power.

While we are at it looking at the code, how many more years will it take to implement the gender neutral language that the citizens voted for? Who’s job was it to implement that?

https://ecode360.com/27049839

Tysen Canevari August 11, 2021 at 4:45 pm

And the next move will be the mayor closing down city hall. I think we have seen this movie before. Less than 3 percent in Norwalk so we all must wear a mask? How about no vaccine then no admittance? Just saying

George August 11, 2021 at 8:23 pm

Meanwhile no masks are required in Darien, New Canaan and other Republican towns.

Give it up Harry. If this would go to the courts you’d find that you have no authority to require masks.

Greg August 11, 2021 at 10:13 pm

John O’Neill is on point. Love Gottlieb level headed and shows calm and common sense. I think it’s time to let individual business owners decide. Not having it forced on them or us. If you don’t want the vaccine then wear the mask. Rest of the people should have the option except on public transport, hospitals and DRs offices and some public settings

I Agree That We Need Some Skepticism August 11, 2021 at 11:08 pm

After reading Michael McGuire’s post, I followed his advice and approached Dr. Dan Stock’s presentation with some skepticism. Please see this link for another perspective on what was a smooth presentation, but not necessarily a factual one:

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2021/08/11/dan-stock-indiana-doctors-viral-mt-vernon-school-board-testimony-full-misinformation/5551476001/

As for the doctor’s comment about the effectiveness of masks, think about the extremely low incidence of seasonal flu this past year. Could it be because we were wearing masks? This said, I don’t believe that masks are perfect, and I do believe that they likely do allow infected droplets to pass through them. I’ll bet that they also stop many of such droplets.

This said, I think the governor’s approach in having each community decide about mask requirements is going to lead to far less compliance and far more confusion. If masks are the right way to go, the politicians need to have the courage to say so and to impose requirements that are easy to understand.

I Agree That We Need Some Skepticism - follow-up August 11, 2021 at 11:19 pm

After writing my earlier post, I continued reading articles about Dr. Stock’s presentation, as well as about his own level of professionalism, as evidenced by a malpractice suit that he lost because of his failure to provide appropriate medical care. Other medical experts also dispute many of his claims, including his claims about masks and about the effectiveness of the vaccines.

There’s quite a bit out there, so please read for yourself and then draw your own conclusions.

RAS August 11, 2021 at 11:35 pm

@ Jason I haven’t heard of any crimes or charges, their may be a fine, or perhaps a business could be shut down temporarily for non-compliance I suppose. A little common sense and courtesy goes a long way. People should wear masks, at least those who care about the community. We’ve been doing this long enough, it’s really not that monumental of a task to ask customers to wear masks. Of course avoid confrontation for ones safety.

Some commenters here, (not you) should not politicize science and medicine. Obviously this pandemic is not as lethal as it could be, which is good because the sensitive and divided times shows humanity isn’t prepared to handle much more, but the virus is still out there. It’s lethal, nasty and nobody should have their lungs attacked to such a degree that they die alone, with lack of oxygen.

Out of respect for those who have died alone, and loved ones who couldn’t say goodbye, the disaster that is spiraling out of control down south and hospital workers, people should remember that masks are commonly worn during surgery all the time to prevent the spread of infections.

Is it awful to wear masks in daily life? Yes. All things considered is it difficult for a healthy person to wear a mask in public? No

I am not a fan of local government yet oddly find myself in agreement with the regime here. Norwalk can’t control the virus but can listen to medical advice and protect the community. COVID is returning during warm weather, it’s hard to imagine that it won’t get worse.

Jason Milligan August 12, 2021 at 3:33 am

A mandate with out punishment is a suggestion.

Did the council weigh in on the mask mandate?

Or did our emperor just issue a royal decree?

Why do we even have a common council?

Jason Milligan August 12, 2021 at 3:45 am

“It’s raining and I have an umbrella, but my umbrella won’t protect me unless you also have an umbrella.

I’m tired of all these selfish anti-umbrella people…

I have an umbrella, but I could get wet if they don’t.

It won’t stop raining until everyone has an umbrella.

After using my umbrella, I still got a bit damp…

It must be the fault of all the people who refuse to use umbrellas!

Even if it’s not raining where you are, or you’re already wearing a raincoat, you must still use an umbrella.

Stop being so selfish.

Also, if you believe that carrying an umbrella or not should be a personal choice, then you are obviously anti-umbrella and don’t understand weather.

You’re also a bad person and probably support Trump.”

Zuby

CT-Patriot August 12, 2021 at 6:21 am

Still, no discussion on treatment, just iron fisted government to make you obey their demands.

If the vaccines cannot protect you from Covid, not can it protect you from spreading it, what will a mask do? Not a damn thing!

Little by little your freedoms are being gradually taken away.

What next? Covid internment camps?

Michael McGuire August 12, 2021 at 2:10 pm

Skeptical

Sad that you would go to character assassination of the Dr. as the lead to your follow-up.

He was offering solutions to a known problem that is worthy of being explored in light of the huge amount of data that is out there. He is willing to stand behind his recommendations and he provided proof and sources.

In his allotted 5 minutes he provided way more detail than has Fouci and the CDC over the past year. Fouci rarely ever provides facts or details. He just scolds those who might have a differing opinion.

Bryan Meek August 12, 2021 at 2:48 pm

@JasonM. Excellent point. Why even have a Common Council or a Health Department when the Mayor can just issue edicts that are not enforceable. Section 57 of the city Charter grants powers to the Board of Health to tackle disease by any means necessary, so it would seem they have broad powers to do something like this. Maybe they did this once in the last 18 months and maybe I missed it.

I Agree That We Need Some Skepticism August 12, 2021 at 3:42 pm

Michael McGuire,

When you encouraged skepticism in your earlier post, I understood the comment to mean that we should be prepared to be skeptical about anyone. I didn’t think you meant only about people whose views are contrary to our own.

What I said is that there is information that may make people think before accepting the doctor’s statements as truth. Then I encouraged people to look at the other internet articles, and draw their own conclusions.

RAS August 12, 2021 at 9:29 pm

Freedom fighters have their points, as someone with two young kids with pre-existing conditions I wish my big concern was the left trying to control people. It’s not hard to wear a mask, there was a mandate at one point and that “freedom” was given back this summer. With the delta variant, it’s not easy for some parents sending their kids back to school. Nobody can argue that masks do not slow the spread of germs, CT-Patriot. When people are so caught up politicizing and scrutinizing government over this, it’s clear to see the ignorance towards fellow community members who may have a real life difficult time with this.

Larry August 12, 2021 at 10:39 pm

John, Greg- I agree that Scott Gottlieb has been an invaluable source of information and sound advice throughout the entirety of this dismal pandemic, and I almost never miss his morning appearances on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”- which thankfully began early in the pandemic.

Dr. Gottlieb- who spent 3 years as Trump’s first FDA chief – has been a consistent advocate for giving state and local government the flexibility to enact measures that are most appropriate to their particular circumstances and challenges. He has also – since the beginning of the Delta outbreak – advocated for masking indoors irrespective of vaccination status, and has shared that he has personally been doing so even when CT’s rules permitted the vaccinated to go unmasked indoors. So the mask regulation that Norwalk has enacted seems, to me, to be completely consistent with Dr. Gottlieb’s recommendations and positions.

Larry August 13, 2021 at 9:49 am

RAS- very well put.

It seems to me that those who are waving the flag of freedom and liberty most vigorously in the face of a local mask mandate, also appear to be glaringly lacking in empathy for other members of the community who may be more vulnerable (e.g. children not yet eligible for vaccines, or those who, for other reasons, may be unable to get vaccinated). The facts of the Delta variant, as currently understood, are that 1) the viral load in the nasal passages of someone infected with Delta are estimated to be as much as 1000 times higher than those found in someone infected with the Wuhan strain, and 2) significant numbers of vaccinated individuals may have asymptomatic infections and thus be carriers capable of infecting aforementioned vulnerable individuals.

So, to paint things in stark terms, not wearing a mask indoors as the number of Delta infections increase in our community, is an act that demonstrates both ignorance of the facts as currently understood, and more egregiously, a callous disregard for the vulnerable in our community.

And as for vaccinations…To all those who would likely take to the streets if a national mandate were put in place by the Feds, brace yourselves for increasing numbers of mandates instituted by public and private sector institutions, organizations and businesses. In fact, conservative Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett ruled just this morning against 8 Indiana University students who had sued Indiana University for instituting a vaccination requirement. So between this precedent, and the FDA’s anticipated full approval of the mRNA vaccines in September, the vaccine hesitant may find it challenging to find a place of refuge.

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