Thanks to COVID-19, we’re learning a lot about the word “shall.”
The word is used frequently in executive orders, and in one of the most recent orders issued by Gov. Ned Lamont, its appearance raised some questions. On Wednesday, June 24, Lamont issued Executive Order 7BBB, which authorized a travel advisory instructing travelers entering Connecticut from certain states to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“All travelers entering Connecticut from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average, shall self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.” [emphasis added]
During his press briefings on Wednesday, Lamont told reporters that it would be up to visitors to voluntarily self-quarantine.
“Right now, it’s going to be voluntary. Right now, you are going to be clearly notified that you must quarantine if you haven’t tested negative within, say, 72 hours. And you’re going to be notified of that in strict terms. And hotels will notify you of that before,” he said.
What’s more, the order would apply to anyone entering CT from certain states (listed on the CT DPH website)–visitors from out-of-state and residents returning home to CT, alike.
Some Republican state legislators reportedly pressed for clarification on whether the order’s 14-day self-quarantine was voluntary or mandatory–and according to Wilton’s State Representative Gail Lavielle, they were told it would be voluntary. What’s more, without an enforcement provision in the executive order, there was no clear way to make the order stick.
In an email sent late last night, Max Reiss, the governor’s communications director, responded to GOOD Morning Wilton‘s request for clarification: “It is mandatory and as of now a negative test is not sufficient but we are reviewing potential policies relating to negative tests.”
So, ‘shall’ means mandatory, not voluntary; and a test isn’t enough to waive the self-quarantine requirement, at least for now.
‘Shall’ also means mandatory when it comes to the governor’s order about masks.
In her now twice-a-week update to residents, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice pointed to the use of the word ‘shall’ in the Executive Order issued by Lamont in April that pertained to face coverings.
“I continue to receive questions about face coverings. Face coverings, when required are mandatory, not recommended,” she wrote.
“The Governor’s Executive Order 7BB, requires the use of a face covering, except in the circumstances noted within the order. Please note the use of the word shall [emph. added by GMW], not the word ‘may’ or ‘recommend’ in the first sentence in the face-covering section of the order: Effective at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020, any person in a public place in Connecticut who is unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering.”
She added that even when social distancing is possible, sometimes masks are still mandatory. “The sector rules for some specific businesses/non-profits or events have requirements to wear face coverings even when able to social distance. Please review the rules for those organizations or activities you frequent.”
By the Numbers (June 25)
Vanderslice noted that today, Friday, June 26, Connecticut “will likely exceed 4,300 deaths statewide, [with] 1,631 of those deaths reported during the month of May. Last year, statewide deaths during the month of May were 2,520. CT DPH has not reported a total for all deaths for the month of May, but we expect a sizable increase versus May 2019.”
The CT Data Center reported the following for Wilton as of June 24 (totals are since the start of the pandemic unless otherwise indicated):
- Total Wilton cases: 209 (+2 since June 21, no change since June 22; 7 since May 31)
- Confirmed: 182
- Probable: 27
- Total Wilton tests:
- Residents tested: 1,286 (+19 since June 23, 460 since May 31)
- Tests performed: 1674 (+32 since June 23, 581 since May 31)
- Positive test results: 250 (no change since June 23, 24 since May 31)
- Negative test results: 1,424 (+32 since June 23, 557 since May 31)
- Total Wilton deaths: 41 (no change since June 13, +3 since May 31)
- Laboratory-confirmed: 20
- Probable deaths: 21
The State does not provide detailed data on antibody testing.
CT DPH reported the following for Fairfield County as of June 24:
- Total Fairfield County Cases: 16,547 (+20 since June 24)
- Confirmed: 15,914
- Probable: 633
- Total Fairfield County Deaths: 1,373 deaths (+3 since June 24)
- Confirmed: 1,069
- Probable: 304
- Total Current Fairfield County Hospitalized patients: 46 (-1 since June 24)
CT DPH reported the following for statewide as of June 24:
- Total CT cases: 45,994 (+81 since June 24)
- Total CT deaths: 4,298 (+11 since June 24)
- Total Current State hospitalized patients: 122 (-2 since June 24)
- Total tests performed in CT: 406,967 (+6,576 since June 24)
It is important to note that these newly reported updates include data that occurred over the last several days to a week. All data in this report are preliminary, and data for previous dates will be updated as new reports are received and data errors are corrected. Hospitalization data were collected by the Connecticut Hospital Association. Deaths* reported to either OCME or DPH are included in the daily COVID-19 update.
Visit the state’s coronavirus webpage for several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups.
Vanderslice reminded residents that the status of Town recreational facilities, buildings, and services during Phase 2 is available on the Town’s website.
In addition, many town services are available virtually.