CHESHIRE — In recent weeks, the mask policy at municipal buildings had relaxed as towns across the state began to loosen up COVID-19 restrictions.
However, last week the town decided to reverse course and the mask policy was tightened again.
“Effective Monday, Nov. 22, masks and face coverings will once again be required in all Town of Cheshire municipal buildings regardless of vaccination status,” a release from Town Manager Sean Kimball’s office stated.
“I review Cheshire-specific case numbers from DPH every day (they release updates at 3 p.m. every weekday) and over the past four days we’ve seen quite a significant increase, higher than any four day stretch since mid-January,” Kimball told The Herald. “Coupled with the expectation that there will be more holiday gatherings this year beginning (this) week, I decided to reinstitute the mask requirement for everyone in our municipal buildings to try to reduce the spread and keep our employees and public visitors safe. We are also seeing more breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated employees and members of the public.”
The decision comes less than two weeks after the town had determined that pandemic-related metrics had reached a point where the mask mandates could be lifted.
The change did not apply to certain venues, such as the Cheshire Public Library, and had no bearing on continuing mask mandates at all local schools.
“We will continue to closely monitor these metrics and others along with guidance from public health experts,” the statement from Kimball’s office reads. “If we consistently fall back below both of the identified levels, we may be able to lessen our protocols again.
“With the relative volatility of the seven-day positivity rate, we would like to see the rolling average of the positivity rate metric fall back below the 2% level in order to lessen our masking protocols,” the statement continues.
The mask policy applies to all visitors regardless of vaccination status, according to Kimball.