Marpe: Updated COVID Regulations. Town Reopenings

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

Yesterday, Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order enacting updated COVID mask protocols in response to the new recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These recommendations allow fully vaccinated individuals to forgo the use of a mask either when outdoors or when indoors with other fully vaccinated individuals. According to the governor’s order, a face covering is required when indoors in a public place or when safe social distancing of approximately six feet from every other person is not maintained – specifically for those who are not fully vaccinated. (Click here to read the entire Executive Order #12.)

According to the Westport Weston Health District, “In accordance with CDC and state Department of Public Health guidelines, the use of masks outdoors is no longer required, but recommended if an individual is outdoors in crowded conditions with others of unknown vaccination status and it is not possible to physically distance from others. Businesses, state and local government offices and event organizers may choose to require universal masking when there is uncertainty of the vaccination status of individuals visiting their facility and/or large crowds may be anticipated.” More information from the CT DPH can be found here.

Please note that this guidance does not mean that masks are no longer required or that social distancing is not recommended. Rather, it is a communication to those who are fully vaccinated that they may forgo the use of a mask in certain, if not most, circumstances. Individual businesses and offices may continue to require people to wear a mask in their facilities.

Currently, there is no process in place to recognize the vaccination status of others. Because of that uncertainty, it is recommended that individuals err on the side of caution and assume in certain larger gatherings that there are those who are unvaccinated, and a mask should be worn. Since many institutions will follow this logic, most indoor mask wearing provisions will remain in place until there is a higher degree of certainty of increased vaccination rates.

Effective June 1, town facilities, including the Westport Library, will be expanding capacity with the goal of returning to full in person and pre-COVID access. However, given the uncertainty of vaccination status, masks will continue to be required in all town facilities. The following procedures will be in place:

  • Town Hall:  The building continues to be open to the public. Effective June 1, walk-in services for certain departments will be reintroduced. Visitors may park in the front or the rear of the building and enter through the front entrance or the handicap ramp. Sign-in will continue as visitors enter the building at the reception area. Masks will be required to enter Town Hall.
  • Appointments: Appointments and remote services continue to be encouraged for the most efficient service. Most appointments will occur in the Town Hall lobby to allow for optimal air circulation and social distancing. For those who prefer to meet outdoors, the exterior tent will be reinstalled.

Town Hall is reopening — slowly. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

  • Plan review meetings with the Land Use Departments (Planning & Zoning, Conservation, Building and fire marshal) continue to be encouraged using remote technology, but those requiring in-person meetings that exceed 15 minutes should schedule an appointment during the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p,m. Monday through Friday in the Town Hall lobby. Plan review with the Building Department and fire marshal will follow the same protocol at Fire Headquarters at 515 Post Road East.
  • Public Meetings: Some public meetings will begin to return to in-person attendance by both board/commission members and the public. Municipalities are still authorized to host remote public meetings until July. It is expected that additional board, committee and commission in-person meetings will gradually return over this time period. Public meeting announcements will indicate how meetings will be conducted.
  • Parks & Recreation:  The Parks & Recreation Department will reopen its administrative office to the public beginning June 1. Masks must be worn. Please practice social distancing. Remote and online options remain the preferred methods of interacting with the Parks & Recreation Department.
  • Police Department:  The Police Department lobby is fully open, including the records window. Follow signage for safety procedures. Remote and online services remain preferred methods of business interaction.
  • Reopening Updates: For the latest on reopening updates, please visit here.

Our goal is to make the town’s transition to pre-COVID operations as safe as possible for residents and employees.  Your continued patience and cooperation are appreciated.

Certainly, anyone may wear a mask if they prefer to do so. Civil and courteous behavior towards all should continue to be the norm. Some individuals with underlying medical conditions who may be more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 should consider continued mask wearing. Such conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes and those immunocompromised. More information on underlying medical conditions can be found at:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html1

5 responses to “Marpe: Updated COVID Regulations. Town Reopenings

  1. So, the announcement states:

    “…those who are fully vaccinated that they may forgo the use of a mask in certain, if not most, circumstances.”

    OK, that’s great news, and aligns with CDC guidance. But….. then I read:

    “a face covering is required when indoors in a public place”

    and

    “most indoor mask wearing provisions will remain in place until there is a higher degree of certainty of increased vaccination rates.”

    OK….. so…. then there’s no change? Even though the CDC says indoor masking is no longer needed:

    “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said last week. “We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

    I don’t understand why the science is being ignored.

  2. That was as confusing as anything I’ve read in a long time!!

  3. Barbara Sherburne '67

    This is confusing and also made me feel kind of sick. I wonder if the unvaccinated population should be made to wear, for instance, red armbands so the vaccinated population could identify us right away and steer clear as though we were lepers. I believe we still have the right to make our own decisions about our bodies, and I refuse to get the vaccine. I am truly beginning to feel like a piranha. When will we get back to a sense of normalcy? This has gone on way too long.

    • Perhaps your spell checker turned your intended “pariah” into “piranha” but, by choosing to go unvaccinated, you may indeed be an unintended piranha.

      But, I get it. My body, my choice. Why don’t people who embrace that for other things respect that?

      Personally, I’m vaccinated and, at some level, now that the vaccine is available to anyone that wants it, I don’t care anymore if you chose to play Russian Roulette. I just hope you don’t get unlucky and the bullet that gets you doesn’t also go through you and hit someone that can’t be vaccinated.

    • Peter Gambaccini

      When will unvaccinated people get back to a sense of normalcy? How about never? Your choice.

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