Newtown lifts mask mandate as local COVID-19 cases decrease

Newtown has joined the list of Connecticut towns that have decided to drop their mask mandate.
Newtown implemented a mandatory mask mandate a month ago because its positivity rates were some of the highest in the greater Danbury area.
Now, the town has lifted that mandate as numbers have gone down. Greenwich and Ridgefield have also dropped their mask mandates.
Some customers at the Newtown General Store were wearing masks on Monday while others were not. Vlanca Rivera, who works at the General Store, says before, she had to turn people away who didn't wear a mask.
"So, I think it’s a good thing,” she says. “Everybody is happy right now…That's good for the business.”
The town says it dropped the mandate because COVID cases declined. Newtown and neighboring town Southbury have only five to nine cases per 100,000 people.
Nearby Bethel and Monroe have 15 cases or more, but Monroe doesn't have a mask mandate. Haley Malin is a nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital. She thinks Newtown’s decision is premature.
"When you go into a place and you see nobody wearing masks, it feels like nobody else cares,” Malin says. “We were supposed to be the heroes last year and now people are berating us for wanting to stick to the science."
The first selectman is still giving people the option to wear a mask if they want to. He says he's going to re-evaluate as the season gets further into the winter months.
Newtown still wants people who are not fully vaccinated to wear a mask indoors, by order of the state.