Stamford becomes 1st local city to reinstate mask mandate
Stamford is the first local city to bring back its indoor mask mandate due to a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron variant.
Mayor Caroline Simmons is reinstating the city's indoor mask rule. It applies to any public space, even if a person is vaccinated.
"We've seen some alarming trends over the past several weeks. The numbers are rising, and things are escalating very quickly," said Dr. Asha Shah, from Stamford Hospital.
Just a day earlier, Gov. Ned Lamont opposed a statewide mask mandate.
"I can pass a lot of laws and mandates and restrictions, but they're only effective when people follow it," said Lamont.
What is different in Stamford is enforcement. Health inspectors will go door to door issuing $100 fines to businesses and customers who do not follow the mandate.
"We also enforce it through our citation officers. They go to all other locations. They'll go into multiple dwellings, into lobbies, into the supermarkets," said Stamford Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski.
Mask mandates have led to protests at the State Capitol. But on the streets of Stamford, News 12 heard from people who say it's a small sacrifice.
"My wife and I are both fully vaccinated, and we have had our booster, and I'm one that -- I wish I wouldn't have to wear a mask, but I still do," said George Wares, a visitor from Iowa.
"It would make me feel safer, yeah. It would make me want to get out more," said Michael Hasselt, of Stamford.
Health inspectors will be out educating people Tuesday night as the mandate goes into effect. They won't start handing out fines for another day or two.
Bridgeport and New Haven never lifted their earlier mask rules.