Health Director on New Mask Rules: ‘Those That Are Fully Vaccinated Can Feel Safer’


Elm Street on May 20, 2021. Credit: Hannah Tiller

Longstanding requirements to wear masks both indoors and in some outdoor settings changed this week, eliminating many of the rules that residents and businesses have grappled with since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, officials say.

As of Wednesday, following CDC guidance, Gov. Ned Lamont ordered that masks are no longer required outdoors and also relaxed many of public-health related rules for those who are fully vaccinated.

“It’s a huge change,” New Canaan Health Director Jenn Eielson told “I mean everyone’s been wearing masks now since last April.”

Specifically, people who received their final vaccine dose at least two weeks ago need not wear a mask or social-distance indoors or outdoors, except in schools, childcare settings, nursing homes, healthcare facilities, public transportation or private businesses that require them. (Unvaccinated people are still required to wear masks indoors, Lamont said.)

When asked if fully vaccinated people could enter businesses without a mask, Eielson said businesses “can still decide if they want to require masks or not.”

She added, “My advice would be just to keep a mask handy because you never know what business is going to ask you to put one on.”

Masks are only recommended in large outdoor settings where young unvaccinated children may be, she said.

“I think those that are fully vaccinated can feel safer about going out and doing the normal things that you were doing,” Eielson said.

Even so, it’s OK for those being cautious or who have grown accustomed to wearing a mask to keep doing it, she said.

“Some people are not ready right now,” Eielson said, adding that vaccinated residents should go “at their own pace” in terms of putting masks away.

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