Tag Archives: COVID Delta variant

Marpe Issues Indoor Mask Mandate

Moments ago, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe announced:

As a regional response to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday (August 23), the towns of Westport, Fairfield and Easton have issued temporary town-wide mask mandates. Neighboring cities of Norwalk, Stamford, and Bridgeport currently have mask mandates in place.

Yesterday, Fairfield County was the 5th county in Connecticut to be moved into the “high transmission” category – the most severe level as defined by the CDC. Hospitalizations in Fairfield County are on the rise. The rise in case levels in Westport for the past 2 weeks will likely place the town into the “substantial transmission” or “red” category this week.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health strongly recommends that all residents over the age of 2 years, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, wear masks when in indoor public spaces. The Governor’s Executive Order No. 13A provides municipal leaders with the option of requiring masks in indoor public places within their respective towns and cities for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Indoor public spaces include retail establishments, restaurants, gyms, workout studios or other businesses, as well as galleries, museums, performance spaces, places of worship and government buildings. Businesses may still require proof of vaccination to enter, but a mask will also be required.

Masks are once again mandated indoors in Westport. (“Mask Quilt” by Amy Schneider)

Westport Weston Health District director of health Mark Cooper said, “The COVID- 19 vaccine is the most powerful tool against infection and severe illness, but the increasing number of breakthrough infections after vaccination are a reminder that no vaccine is 100% effective. As long as there continues to be cases of COVID in Westport, it is important to continue the use of the other tools at our disposal to reduce transmission such as masking when indoors and in large outdoor crowds, hand washing, social distancing, and limiting gathering sizes. This is particularly important as we approach the start of the new school year and to those young people who are unable to be vaccinated as they return to the classroom.”

Private social gatherings appear to be a growing source of transmission. Please reconsider social gatherings and be mindful of transmission that happens within the home. Keep gatherings to outdoors if possible and get tested, even if you only feel cold-like symptoms. Follow CDC guidelines for masking against the Delta and other variants. This advice is for everyone whether vaccinated or not.

I am grateful that Westporters recognize the importance of wearing masks and getting vaccinated. It is for our physical and mental health and safety that we remain vigilant, and at the same time, be respectful to others who may have differing opinions. We have come a long way in combatting this virus.  While this development may seem like a step backward, it is undoubtedly necessary until the time comes when all have the capacity to be vaccinated and COVID-19 is a more manageable, non-life-threatening virus. We are stronger together.

Vaccine Booster

Yesterday, the President announced that it will be critical to administer “booster” vaccinations to continue to fight the pandemic.  Please note that the general public will not be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster until after September 20, and at that time, anyone receiving the booster will need to be at least 8 months from their second vaccination. When available, additional information and instructions about the booster will be posted on the WWHD website, www.WWHD.org. For questions about COVID-19, including vaccine planning, call the WWHD at 203-227-9571.

Marpe: Masks SHOULD Be Worn Indoors

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.

Not out of the woods yet

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.

 Municipal buildings

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.

New COVID Protocols For Town Hall, Library

We’re not yet through with COVID.

In fact, we’re entering a new, worrisome phase.

Based on advice from the CDC and state Department of Health as the Delta variant spreads, town officials have announced new safety protocols. They are effective immediately.

Staff, visitors and patrons of all town buildings — including the Westport Library — will be required to wear a mask regardless of individual vaccination status.

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.

New — actually, old — COVID protocols have been implemented at Town Hall.

Town Hall meetings can also be held outside at the picnic table in the rear of the building, or in the lobby.

Staff are required to check their temperature upon entering work for the day.

Town and Library employees will return to weekly testing for COVID, for their safety and for the safety of any visitors.

First Responders will return to COVID protocols by wearing masks when interacting with the public indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The public should expect that many businesses and restaurants will return to requiring masks, regardless of vaccination status. That decision is currently at the discretion of the establishments.

Westporters are urged to remain vigilant and informed as the Delta variant continues to spread and impact even those who are fully vaccinated.

Those who are eligible and who have not done so already are encouraged to get vaccinated. Please discuss any concerns about the vaccine with your health care provider.