FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mansfield Lifts Mask Mandate Effective March 1
MANSFIELD, CT February 28, 2022– Effective at 12:01 AM on March 1, the Town of Mansfield is lifting the requirement (which was initially imposed via an Emergency Order put into place last August) for masks to be worn in public spaces.
The Connecticut legislature and Governor enacted legislation at the start of its session that extended the authorities granted in Executive Order 13A for municipalities to enact local mask requirements intended to control the spread of COVID-19. At its February 14 business meeting, the Council voted to authorize the Town Manager to extend the Town of Mansfield’s existing universal mask mandate. In the subsequent weeks, positivity rates have continued to decline sharply.
This past Friday, the Centers for Disease Control announced the release of “COVID community level metrics” that it is encouraging state and local governments to follow when determining the merits of imposing mask restrictions. Classifications are issued at the county level, and the municipalities within Eastern Highlands Health District (EHHD) are currently classified as “low” under these new metrics, which is the most favorable classification available. The implications of these new metrics were discussed at the regularly scheduled February 28 Council meeting, and the Council subsequently voted in support of lifting the local mandate.
“The Town of Mansfield was proactive in establishing an indoor mask mandate late last summer to protect our residents, visitors and business owners,” says Town Manager Ryan Aylesworth. “We believe wearing a mask in public spaces helped prevent the spread of the virus this fall and winter, and many residents expressed strong words of support and appreciation for this practice in our community.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing struggle for an extensive period of time, and, after overcoming many challenges through shared sacrifice and strict adherence to public health guidance, this marks an important step in regaining greater normalcy in our daily lives,” says Mr. Aylesworth.
The mandate had required that masks or cloth face coverings be worn by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor public spaces, meeting spaces, private indoor businesses and all places of employment except when eating and drinking. Dropping the masking requirement allows for greater personal choice. Public health authorities stress, however, that the emergence of a new COVID variant could trigger a change in guidance. According to EHHD, the new “COVID community level metrics” uses metrics more closely aligned with significant outcomes from COVID-19 infection, rather than infections alone, to help inform individuals and communities about recommended prevention strategies. This new tool utilizes hospitalizations, hospital bed capacity, and new infections as the primary indicators used to determine whether a community is designated as a “high, medium, or low” community.