1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:
Due to increasing COVID cases in Fairfield County, Westport residents are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in indoor public spaces, whether located in retail establishments, restaurants, gyms, workout studios or other businesses, as well as galleries, museums, performance spaces or government buildings. The CDC has designated Fairfield County as having “substantial” community transmission, out of the low, moderate, substantial and high rates. Currently 90 percent of all COVID cases in CT are of the Delta variant.
Last week, Governor Lamont issued an Executive Order that provides municipal leaders with the option of requiring masks in indoor public spaces within their respective towns and cities for all individuals regardless of vaccination status. Westport is not mandating masks at this time.
However, given the rapid spread of the Delta variant, we are requesting that residents return to a higher level of vigilance. This pandemic does not know borders or buildings. The Delta variant is much more contagious than COVID-19 and extra precautions are warranted. Wearing a mask and exercising caution whether it is in Westport, another community, or in a place of business should be consistent.
Town officials have listened to other communities and understand that varying approaches are being explored relative to increased mask usage, particularly based on community size, density, and transmission rates. We also understand that some businesses in Westport, including most gyms and some restaurants, have returned to requiring masks for all visitors, customers, and staff. Most retailers are requiring staff to wear a mask. We request that everyone respect and comply with the conditions set by these individual establishments.
While those who are being hospitalized due to COVID are overwhelmingly unvaccinated, there is still cause for concern among the vaccinated. The Delta variant of COVID is very new and more is discovered each day about vaccine efficacy. It is beneficial for everyone’s health and safety to wear a mask because it protects yourself and others and slows the spread. Some within our community are unable to be vaccinated, including children under 12, so it is incumbent upon us all to help protect others. From the beginning of this challenging time, I have stated, “we are in this together.” Now more than ever, that message is important. In my opinion, the personal choice to wear a mask reflects compassion for all of our neighbors, families and friends.
We continue to urge all who are eligible to get vaccinated. Studies show that any side effects are temporary or very rare. With a high vaccination rate, mutual cooperation, patience and understanding for adhering to the safety protocols, Westport can keep the spread of COVID to a minimum.
Town officials have implemented the following safety protocols at Town Hall, the Westport Library and other town facilities:
Regardless of vaccination status,
- Visitors and patrons of all town buildings including the library are required to wear a mask.
- Walk-ins will continue to be allowed in Town Hall. Visitors must follow contact tracing, mask requirements, temperature checks and other safety protocols upon entering. As an alternative, it is recommended that the public consider the town’s online services or other options for in-person meetings.
- Town Hall staff are required to check their temperature upon entering work for the day and wear a mask in the common public areas.
- Town and Library employees will return to weekly testing for COVID for their safety and for the safety of any visitors.
- First responders will wear masks when interacting with the public indoors.