Gov. Ned Lamont is following the US Centers for Disease Control recommendation and easing Connecticut’s mask mandate. As of May 19, people in the state who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be required to wear face masks indoors in public in most situations.
The change is one of several pandemic-related orders being rolled back in Connecticut on May 19.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. If you are fully vaccinated,” Lamont said at Thursday’s press briefing.
However, he still wants anyone who isn’t vaccinated to continue to mask up indoors. “Indoor masking will still be required for the unvaccinated for a little bit longer. I think that’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Outdoor guidance applies to everyone: “Outdoor masking is no longer required for anybody vaccinated or unvaccinated unless you’re in a very tight area,” the governor said.
Lamont added that he expects unvaccinated people to stick with indoor mask-wearing on the honor system. “I hope we can count on them to do the right thing.”
Relaxing the mask mandate for vaccinated people carries some conditions as well. Following the CDC revised guidelines, people will continue to be required to wear masks in schools through the end of the current school year, masks will be required in certain crowded indoor locations, including airplanes, buses, trains, hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons.
Lamont also said that businesses will have the option to require mask-wearing if they want.
“Some people may ask for authentication to show that you have been vaccinated. Some in crowded areas may say, ‘I want everybody to wear a mask.’ That’s going to be up to the discretion of the businesses. I think the overwhelming majority will leave it up to the customer to self declare whether they’ve been vaccinated or not, whether they’re obligated to wear a mask or not,” he said.
He also reiterated that all changes easing up on mask-wearing don’t take effect until May 19.
Statewide, the vaccination rate continues to be strong: over 1.6 million CT residents are fully vaccinated, and 72% of all adults have received a first dose.
Thursday was also the first official day that vaccines could be administered to children age 12-15, adding 177,000 individuals in the state now eligible to be immunized.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had authorized the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 12 years old and up. That announcement was followed on Wednesday by the CDC’s recommendation to use the Pfizer vaccine for the 12-15 year age group as well.
Lamont said he hoped that his mask announcement Thursday would motivate anyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to step up and do so.
“It’s one more reason to get fully vaccinated,” he said.