On November 4, 2021, Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling, in close consultation with the Norwalk Health Department, announced that due to improved COVID-19 metrics and ongoing vaccination efforts, the City of Norwalk’s public indoor mask mandate will be lifted effective immediately.
The indoor mask mandate was implemented for all people regardless of vaccination status on August 13 to help curb a surge in cases due to the Delta Variant. Now, with public health metrics improving, vaccination rates increasing, and young people 5 – 11 years old eligible to be vaccinated, Mayor Rilling lifted the mask mandate and replaced it with a mask advisory for indoor public places in Norwalk.
“We are in a better place now compared to several months ago when the mask mandate was implemented. Cases are down and vaccinations are up. I thank members of the public and businesses for helping to slow the spread of the virus by following common-sense public health measures,” Mayor Rilling said. “While masking is no longer mandatory, residents can wear a mask if they so choose. Likewise, businesses may implement their own policy on face coverings. While the mask mandate has been lifted, I strongly encourage residents to continue to take precautions and wear face coverings when in busy indoor settings.”
While the mask mandate is rescinded, members of the public are advised that an indoor mask mandate remains in effect at all City properties, including Norwalk City Hall, regardless of vaccination status for all visitors and staff. The Mayor’s modified order does not impact orders by Governor Ned Lamont, which mandates that masks be worn in schools and childcare settings, on public transportation, in health care and congregate living settings, and in public places by anyone who is not fully vaccinated.
Mayor Rilling lifted the mask mandate and replaced it with an advisory following close discussion with the Norwalk Health Department. As previously announced, the City follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding community transmission by county, which advises masks should be worn by all people when transmission is substantial or greater. For the last eight consecutive reporting periods supporting a data trend, Fairfield County has been in moderate transmission, where the CDC advises only those who are unvaccinated wear masks indoors. Additionally, besides a lowering case rate, the test positivity rate in Norwalk continues to decline and the total number of statewide hospitalizations has remained relatively steady over the last several weeks.
Currently, more than 75 percent of all Norwalk residents, including those who are not eligible for the vaccine, have had at least one dose, and nearly 70 percent of residents of all ages are fully vaccinated. Masks have been shown to be effective at reducing the emission of virus droplets, as well as reducing the inhalation of those droplets. Although masks will no longer be required indoors, residents are advised to continue to take steps to keep themselves and the community healthy: social distance where possible, wash hands frequently, get vaccinated if eligible, and stay home and get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Residents should also refer to the state Health Department mitigation strategies found at ct.gov for guidance based on community transmission level.
The citywide mask mandate may be reinstated if COVID-19 cases and other important public health metrics rise again as the winter months and holiday season moves forward.
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