Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order Friday that extended his April 17 order requiring face masks to be worn in public places where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.
The order, signed by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, also extends an exemption for those who may not be able to wear a mask due to health conditions provided they are able to give written documentation by a doctor or by a relevant state agency, such as the Department of Developmental Services.
The order continues the power of the Department of Economic and Community Development to update sector rules for businesses, including workplace rules for essential employees regarding requirements for face masks
“The Commissioner of the DECD shall issue updated versions of Sector Rules, Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers, or other rules issued pursuant to previous executive orders,” the order states.
The order shall remain in effect for six months or until any future orders change.
Although Connecticut was scheduled to be into Phase 3 of its reopening plan based on the low numbers of new cases and new hospitalizations, a resurgence of the coronavirus in a number of states has led to the reopening plan being put on hold. The state has also cracked down on travelers coming in from affected states.
Jim Watson, director of communications for the DECD, said that decisions on when and how restrictions can be eased will still be made through a collaborative effort between the governor’s office, DECD and the Department of Public Health.
Business rules for reopening and general rules regarding the wearing of masks in public spaces have essentially remained stuck in Phase 2, limiting indoor gatherings to 25 people, outdoor gatherings to 100 and businesses to 50 percent of their indoor capacity.
The extension of the mask order came on the same day as an appeal was filed against the Connecticut Department of Education and its commissioner Miguel Cardona for requiring students returning to public school wear face coverings.
The plaintiffs are two parents from Manchester and Niantic and the CT Freedom Alliance, which lists itself as a coalition of “parents, attorneys, legislators, doctors, scientists, and activists who are committed to preserving and expanding individual rights and freedoms in Connecticut.”
The plaintiffs claim the mask requirement infringes on their children’s right to a public education and that the Department of Education does not have the statutory or regulatory authority to issue such a requirement.