WEST HARTFORD — Employees and visitors are now required wear a mask in all town buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
People will need to wear a mask when they enter and in public areas within the building, including hallways, restrooms and meeting rooms, the town announced Wednesday.
“Our greeters will offer a mask to visitors if they arrive without one,” according to a news release from the town. “We will make exceptions for persons with health issues that prevent them from wearing a mask.”
The announcement comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for everyone to wear masks indoors in places were there was “substantial” transmission of COVID-19.
New Haven, New London and Hartford counties hit that benchmark on July 29, followed shortly by Fairfield , Tolland and Windham counties on July 30. On Tuesday, all of Connecticut’s counties were considered to have “substantial transmission” under the CDC classification system.
“We believe that the mask requirement is consistent with the guidelines issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the CDC,” Town Manager Matt Hart said.
Connecticut’s daily positivity rate on Wednesday, the day West Hartford’s new rule went into effect, was 3.35 percent with 537 new cases reported.
West Hartford’s positivity rate was 9.2 per 100,000 cases as of July 29, with 27 cases the first week and 54 cases the second week, according to the most recent report from the state Department of Public Health.
Other places in the country, such as New York City, are requiring city employees be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing and Gov. Ned Lamont said he is considering something similar for state employees.
Vaccines are not required for West Hartford employees, though they are encouraged.
“Presently, there is no policy regarding mandatory vaccinations or weekly testing of our employees,” said Renée B. McCue, a spokeswoman for the town. “Vaccines continue to be the best protection against the delta variant and we encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated.”
About 76.5 percent of West Hartford residents are vaccinated, as of July 28, according to the state vaccine tracker.
McCue said there are a lot of places people can get a shot if they aren’t vaccinated yet.
“Getting a vaccine now is as easy as walking into our Health District, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and many other locations that are offering the vaccine without an appointment,” McCue said.
Town officials said they will continue to monitor the transmission rates in West Hartford and make policy changes accordingly.
“We greatly appreciate the cooperation of all visitors and employees as we work together to reduce the spread and incidence of COVID-19,” Mayor Shari Cantor said.