Indoor mask requirement returns to Hamden


Vanessa Blasi, Executive Producer

Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng issued a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces which took effect Thursday, Aug. 19 to contain the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant.

As of Wednesday, Aug. 18, New Haven county is currently averaging a total of 161 cases per day, a 23% increase of where the county was two weeks ago, according to The New York Times.

The new order will put businesses in a position to enforce the mandate. Wenworth’s Homemade Ice Cream manager Kevin Neal is not surprised nor upset about the mask requirement.

“We kind of assumed that it was going to be on its way and we’re going to do everything that we can to abide by the mandate,” Neal said. “Until we didn’t have to, we wore them [masks] all the time and some of our employees still wear masks so I don’t think there’s going to be any problem.”

Some local business owners like Mikro Depot’s owner Mike Farber calls the mandate inevitable and don’t expect to receive much backlash from customers.

“The few that never wanted to and never will, will be the little bit of the struggle but for Mikro anyhow, for the most part we have just a great client base that understands the general safety of everybody is important,” Farber said.

This will not only be an adjustment for businesses and their employees, but also for many Quinnipiac University students as they return to popular businesses in Hamden.

Megan Carpenter, a second-year physical therapy major, says she understands the mandate, but it’ll be a tough switch from unmasked to masked at some places around town.

“I know that in the gym that was the first place that I was excited for it not to have masks and now it’s going to, so that’s going to be hard,” Carpenter said.

Additionally, Quinnipiac second-year nursing student Matthew Michaud says that popular local restaurants may struggle because, “…people are going to want to go back to that normal that they’ve had all summer”.

The order also says all outdoor gatherings of more than 250 persons at Town of Hamden facilities or parks must wear masks.

Earlier this month Governor Ned Lamont announced there would not be a statewide mask mandate, rather Connecticut towns have the option to decide whether enforcing a mask mandate is necessary. New Haven was the first town to issue masks to be worn in all indoor spaces.

Connecticut continues to see rising levels of COVID-19 infection across the state, therefore some Quinnipiac students like Carpenter believe the mask requirement is necessary.

“While it’s inconvenient, it’s also protecting a lot of people because a lot of our population either can’t get vaccinated or didn’t get vaccinated so I think in the long end it’ll be beneficial,” Carpenter said.

Mayor Leng said in a Facebook announcement that he hopes this will be a temporary mandate and that Hamden residents can resume normal life soon.