Connecticut will ease one of its last remaining COVID-19 mandates as people who are fully vaccinated against the virus will no longer be required to wear face masks while indoors in public in most situations, Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday.
Lamont’s announcement reflects updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and will coincide with the state’s May 19 planned removal of most remaining pandemic-related restrictions on businesses.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask, indoors or outdoors. If you are fully vaccinated,” Lamont said at the outset of his news briefing. He later added “Indoor masking will still be required for the unvaccinated for a little bit longer. I think that’s the right thing to do.”
Even for fully vaccinated people, masks still will be required in some situations. Schools are expected to continue requiring them through the end of the current school year, Lamont said. Josh Geballe, state chief operating officer, said they will also still be required in other higher-risk locations like nursing homes and hospitals as well as airplanes, buses and trains.
Lamont said stores, restaurants and other businesses are free to require masks of everyone if they choose. He also said the state would count on people to be honest about whether they were fully vaccinated.
“At this point, I think people are going to self-attest. I hope we can count on them to do the right thing,” Lamont said.
As of Thursday, more than 1.6 million Connecticut residents had been fully vaccinated. Lamont said that 72% of the state’s adult population had gotten at least their first dose. State officials have reported that demand for the vaccine had dropped off in recent weeks. The governor said he hoped the new mask guidance would encourage more people to take the shot.
“That’s very liberating,” Lamont said. “It’s one more reason to get fully vaccinated.”
The vaccine is also now available to residents as young as 12 years old following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency approval this week of the Pfizer formula for children between 12 and 15 years old. Lamont said appointments were widely available.
“Get the word out to parents. They can take you to a mass-vaccination site. You don’t need an appointment. Go to a pharmacy. Go to one of our mobile clinics and we’ll be rolling out school clinics,” he said. “I think it’s very good news.”