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Some towns lifting mask mandates while others are holding off

Manchester lifts mandates, East Hartford on standby

HARTFORD, Conn. — To wear a mask or not to wear a mask? 

It's a question many town leaders in Connecticut are now reviewing. That's lead to some towns lifting indoor mask mandates like Manchester and Glastonbury. 

Manchester lifted its mandate on Friday, allowing business owners to choose if they want to enforce it on their own. But, people are no longer required to mask up inside.

The owner of Manchester Safe and Lock said he's excited about the mandate being lifted. They've been located in downtown Manchester for 26 years, but in business for 40 years. Robert Mahoney said he's always willing to follow the guidance, but having this mandate off his shoulders feels like a step in the right direction. 

RELATED: Manchester, other towns lift mask mandates

“Everybody’s been dealing with it for well over a year, going on two pretty soon. It’s just time to get back to the new normal," Mahoney said.

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Mahoney said they won't be asking customers to wear a mask, they'll leave it up to what they're comfortable with.

“We’re not going to say anything, we believe it’s a personal choice anyway," Mahoney said.

South Windsor Town Manager Michael Maniscalco lifted that town's mask mandate Monday afternoon effective immediately. 

Manchester Mayor Jay Moran, said they worked with the health department to lift the mandate because they've been seeing low transmission of the virus.

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In the meantime, towns like East Hartford say, ‘not just yet’ because right now, they are seeing substantial spread of COVID-19.

The guidance, according to the CDC, says substantial spread means there are anywhere from 50-99.99 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over the course of seven days. 

Low transmission means there are 0-9.99 cases of the virus per 100,000 people over the last seven days. 

"We are adhering to the CDC and department of public health guidance, which is that if you are at a moderate or low level of community transmission, then, you could consider removing your mask mandate," said Laurence Burnsed, Director of Health and Social Services for East Hartford.

Right now, East Hartford is on the cusp of reaching a lower transmission rate.  But knowing cases can ebb and flow, Burnsed said they’re airing on the side of caution.

"We want to see a declining occurrence of cases and really kind of a steady trend of seeing that we’re really at a moderate level of transition before we would consider removing the mask mandate," Burnsed said. "For East Hartford for example, a couple months ago, we were seeing 80 to 100 cases a week. And now, here we are, at 25-35 cases a week. so we are seeing a decline in East Hartford as well as the state, but we’re still not out of it completely."

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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