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.”