Municipal leaders not planning to impose local mask mandates


By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

After a few cities implemented local mask mandates, municipal leaders in Naugatuck, Beacon Falls and Prospect say they’re not looking to impose such an order on their residents outside of municipal buildings.

Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order Aug. 5 that allows municipalities to implement local masking requirements because infection and vaccination rates vary among the state’s 169 municipalities. New Haven was the first city to mandate masks be worn indoors. Bridgeport, Hartford, Stamford and Norwalk then followed suit.

Naugatuck officials are not seeking to implement a mask mandate throughout the borough, but are evaluating if its residents will be required to wear masks in municipal buildings regardless of their vaccination status.

Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said officials are monitoring the spread of the Delta variant on a daily basis and working on new recommendations.

“We’re reviewing it and we’re in the process of formulating our plan,” Hess said.

Borough employees who are vaccinated against COVID-19 have the option to wear a mask in municipal buildings, said Emergency Management Director Fran Dambowsky, who is also burgess. The borough recommends the public wears masks inside municipal buildings.

“We’re constantly reviewing that and discussing the options,” Dambowsky said.

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said he will wait and see what state and health officials say on masks when asked if he would enforce a mandate throughout town in the future.

“I think the average person realizes the importance of masking,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield said the town is following guidelines from the state and local health officials that say vaccinated personnel in town buildings don’t have to wear masks while unvaccinated employees are required to wear them.

Beacon Falls mandated that everyone wear masks in Town Hall and Beacon Falls Library on Aug. 2, before Lamont’s executive order. First Selectman Gerard Smith said he has no plans to enforce a mask mandate throughout town.

“We’re not mandating masks anywhere else,” Smith said. “If you’re in the town hall building and library, you have to wear a mask.”

Smith said he mandated masks in town buildings to protect employees and residents.

“My responsibility is for all the residents and town employees to be safe,” Smith said.