HAMDEN, Conn. – In solidarity with Mayor Elicker and the City of New Haven, and in the best interest of the health of Hamden residents at large, Mayor Curt Balzano Leng has issued his 6th emergency order in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Commencing Friday, April 17th, at 5:00am, Mayor Leng has ordered that the use of face coverings are required by all members of the public using essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and big-box stores or wholesale clubs that also sell foods or beverages; restaurants and hotels where food is prepared, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and liquor/package stores and related. In addition, business proprietors may refuse customers entrance to establishments if not wearing face coverings.
In addition, it is ordered that all employers in Hamden operating as aforementioned essential retail businesses must provide all workers with face-coverings, and said face-coverings must be worn at all times while working. By Governor Lamont’s “Safe Stores” Order, many commercial locations should already be wearing facial coverings. This order ensures and expands the same to all businesses listed.
Face coverings are not required to be medical-grade masks or N95 respirators, but rather should be non-medical grade masks, cloth masks, or other fabric coverings to ensure that the supply of medical masks and first responder masks are available for the people who need them to keep us safe and well.
All workers required to wear these face coverings must wash any reusable face coverings at least once a day. Single-use face coverings must be properly discarded into trash receptacles and disposed of.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the use of cloth face coverings, especially in populated areas and community gathering spots. The CDC states: “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus like symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
“Facial coverings do not make people safe from exposure to the Coronavirus. Residents should not in any way consider this order as a tool to go out more often at a time when shelter in place is the very best way to slow and eventually end the spread of this virus,” said Mayor Leng, “Instead, it’s an added tool to keep people safe when they have an essential need and must go out and into a setting with other people where social distancing isn’t guaranteed.”
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet of social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Quinnipiack Valley Health District also supports the recommendation of wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, in conjunction with CDC, where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).
Mayor Leng commented, “This is not our normal behavior, but for the sake of public health and safety ...to save lives, it is not too much to ask. We all have a friend or loved one who is in a high risk category or is immunocompromised. Let’s make the smart decisions together as a community and take the precautions needed to protect those close to us, as well as our friends and neighbors. Wearing a facial covering protects your neighbors, your mom, dad, brother and sister, and it keeps our community safer and stronger. One day, we will get past these strange and dark times. But for now, we’ve got to be mindful - and frankly, we all have to care enough and give a damn to make a difference, and I know that’s what our community can rally behind. ”