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Masks

Masks

Mask-Wearing and Social Distance Guidance

Effective May 19th, 2021


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On May 13th, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made significant changes to their guidance for mask-wearing based on accumulating data about COVID-19 infections in vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Read the full CDC guidance here.


Beginning May 19th, 2021, mask-wearing rules were relaxed by Governor Lamont and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) for residents and visitors to Connecticut who are fully vaccinated. Read Governor Lamont's Executive Order here. Read the DPH Order here.

When am I considered fully vaccinated?
A person is fully vaccinated when 14 days (2 weeks) have passed since their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (i.e. their second Pfizer or Moderna dose, or their first Johnson & Johnson dose).


What does this mean for me?

Click a category below to go directly to that section:

All PeopleVaccinated Adults/ChildrenUnvaccinated Adults/Children Business Owners & Event Operators



All People (vaccinated or unvaccinated)


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All people still need to wear a mask:
  • IN SCHOOLS – Everyone needs to wear a mask inside a school building (pre-K–12) or childcare facility.
  • IN HEALTH FACILITIES – Everyone needs to wear a mask in any areas accessible by patients or clients* inside a licensed healthcare facility, or other healthcare setting, including but not limited to: doctors’ offices, hospitals, emergency care settings, settings that provide physical/occupational therapy, and other patient care settings.
    •  *Patients or clients in these settings can remove masks when:
      • They are alone or in an examining room,
      • They are in rooms by themselves or socially distanced from others,
      • Procedures or services being provided require the removal of masks,
      • They are unable to tolerate masking due to their clinical status.
  • IN CONGREGATE LIVING – Everyone needs to wear a mask when they are inside an assisted living facility or other congregate living setting (such as group homes and residential care homes, homeless and other shelters) when healthcare or other supportive services are being provided. Nursing homes must follow CMS requirements for mask use.
    • Everyone needs to wear a mask inside homeless shelters or other shelters, such as temporary shelter operations.
    • Everyone needs to wear a mask in correctional facilities or detention facilities.
  • ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION – Everyone needs to wear a mask when they are at a transportation hub, such as an airport, bus or train station, or riding public or privately-hired transportation, such as a train, bus, airplane, or ride-sharing services (such as Uber, Lyft, taxi).
  • WHEN ASKED IN PUBLIC OR PRIVATE – Everyone needs to wear a mask if they are asked to do so in a public or private establishment, if required by their employer in their workplace, or when organizers require masks at any event.

Review Governor Lamont’s Executive Order on universal masking for the full list of conditions where mask-wearing is required for all iniduals, regardless of vaccination status.


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This is because:
  • These settings may be more likely to have people there who are not able to be vaccinated due to young age or a health condition.
  • These settings may be more likely to have people there who are at a higher risk for severe complications if they become infected.
  • These settings may make it more difficult for people to keep their distance and may include unvaccinated and infected people.
  • The owner’s or operator’s preference may be to exercise caution in protecting health without needing to keep people appropriately distanced or needing to determine whether a person is vaccinated or not.


Vaccinated Adults & Children


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People who are fully vaccinated:

Can feel comfortable with NO MASK OR SOCIAL DISTANCING both indoors and outdoors. 

DO NOT NEED TO QUARANTINE from work, school, or away from other people if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and do not have any symptoms themselves.

DO NOT NEED TO GET TESTED routinely (e.g., as part of their work), before or after travel, or when they are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and do not have any symptoms themselves.


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This is because:
  • Even if fully vaccinated people are exposed to someone with COVID-19, they are very unlikely to get infected.
  • Even if they get infected, they are very unlikely to get sick or have serious disease.
  • Even if they get infected, they are less likely to infect someone else.


Unvaccinated Adults & Children


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People who are unvaccinated:

Are required to WEAR A MASK INDOORS.

Should continue to WEAR A MASK OUTDOORS when they are in a crowd, at a large event, or in a public place where keeping their distance from others is difficult. 

Should CONTINUE TO QUARANTINE from work, school, and away from other people if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Should CONTINUE TO GET TESTED when they are exposed to someone with COVID-19, before and after they travel, and if they are part of a screening testing program (for example, as part of their work).



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This is because:
  • If they are exposed to someone with COVID-19, they are at risk of getting infected.
  • If they become infected, they can suffer from severe disease and possibly be hospitalized.
  • If they become infected, they can transmit the virus to other people.
  • If they become infected, they can pose a serious risk to other individuals who are not yet vaccinated or cannot get vaccinated.


Business Owners & Event Operators


Consider requiring customer or attendees to wear a mask in the following settings:
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  • When they are inside an establishment or at a large indoor event or private gathering IF THE SPACE IS NOT DESIGNED FOR CONTINUOUS SOCIAL DISTANCING .
    • If not specifically required, consider posting signage indicating that unvaccinated customers are required to wear a mask and any customer is invited to wear a mask if they are more comfortable doing so.
  • When they are inside an establishment or at a large indoor event or private gathering where there is likely to be A MIX OF VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED PEOPLE (including children younger than 12 years).
  • At large outdoor events open to the public and/or where LARGE CROWDS ARE EXPECTED and unvaccinated people (including children younger than 12 years) are likely to be in attendance.


Consider requiring employees to wear a mask:
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  • If they are UNVACCINATED OR THEIR VACCINATION STATUS IS UNKNOWN, and they cannot maintain continuous separation from customers or coworkers.


Consider these changes to your business/event operations:
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  • Should consider redesigning the space inside an establishment or at a large indoor event or private gathering to ALLOW FOR CONTINUOUS SOCIAL DISTANCING (or even extended distancing) when masks use may not be possible or practical (for example while eating/drinking or exercising).
  • Should consider incorporating CDC’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CLEANING/DISINFECTION, HAND HYGIENE, AND VENTILATION inside their establishments to maximize safety for unvaccinated customers and staff.
  • Should plan for REDUCED CAPACITY (including denying entry to valid ticket holders) if a large outdoor event must be moved indoors and there are likely to be unvaccinated people (including children younger than 12 years) in attendance.


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This is because:
  • There is currently no convenient, reliable, and consistent way to determine a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • Many people who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 have no symptoms but can spread the virus to other people who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Even though community infection rates are declining in Connecticut, there are still many vulnerable residents and communities in the state who are not fully vaccinated and could be severely impacted by COVID-19.
  • There is a continuing risk that businesses and large events could be a source of significant COVID-19 outbreaks in situations where universal masking is not in use, many people remain unvaccinated, and appropriate spacing between customers, attendees, and staff cannot be maintained.


Why did mask-wearing guidance change?

What we already knew...

Based on scientific information collected when the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently approved for use in the US were being developed, it was clear:


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Vaccinated people were much less likely to suffer from severe complications, hospitalization, or death if they became infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).


What we know now...

Based on new information collected since COVID-19 vaccinations began in the US and other countries, we now know:

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  • Vaccinated people are very unlikely to become infected compared to unvaccinated people even if they are exposed to people who have COVID-19
  • If they do become infected, fully vaccinated people are less likely to transmit virus to others (even if those people are unvaccinated)