NEWINGTON - Residents are once again required to wear masks and be screened for covid-19 in Newington town buildings starting Monday, regardless of vaccination status.
The town sent out a press release Friday saying the town will revert back to its Covid-19 Transmission Reduction Plan for Town Buildings because of the recent increase in covid-19 positivity rates in Newington.
According to Emergency Management Director Meghan Manke, the decision was made partially because some town employees have recently caught covid-19.
“We have to maintain our critical workforce, and when we have exposure in town buildings, that makes it difficult,” Manke said.
The Covid-19 Transmission Reduction Plan for Town Buildings was used when the town was reopening after the height of the pandemic. Newington stopped using the plan early this summer because of low positivity rates and high vaccination rates in the town.
Newington is currently in the Phase III/Yellow stage of the plan. In this stage, everyone has to wear masks inside town buildings, and any member of the public entering any town building will be asked covid-19 screening questions.
Between July 11 and July 24, Newington had 9.8 cases per 100,000 residents, according to data from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. This rate puts Newington in the high end of the yellow category of transmission. In the next category, Newington may move to the Phase II/Orange stage, in which some town buildings would close to the public.
Manke said town officials waited for two weeks after Newington moved into the yellow category of transmission to reinstate the mask mandate because they were hopeful it was a temporary spike, but cases kept rising.
The decision to reinstate the mask mandate in town buildings was made with the help of Central Connecticut Health District Director of Health Charles Brown. Brown said he has had conversations with most towns in the district recommending they require masks indoors again regardless of vaccination status. So far, only Newington has followed his advice.