Westport Requires Masks in Town Buildings, Not Schools
WESTPORT — Town officials in Westport will be requiring masks in all town-owned buildings except for the public schools following a decision from the Board of Selectmen Monday.
"The latest COVID case statistics, they're all trending in the wrong direction," said Westport Director of Public Health Matt Armendo.
"From July 1 to July 15, we had two confirmed cases. From July 16 to the 31st, we had 28 confirmed cases. And August 1 to the 15th, we got 60 new confirmed cases," he noted. "So we're at 90 confirmed cases from July 1. And they're still coming in."
Most cases are unvaccinated people, Armendo said, including 11 children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination — and at least two people are currently hospitalized with COVID.
"If the state was still classifying communities on the red, yellow, green risk scale, Westport would be in the red category," he added.
The select board tabled discussion on requiring unvaccinated town employees who are eligible for the shot to submit to weekly COVID testing, despite a recommendation to do so from the town's Board of Health.
"We're recommending to be proactive," noted Board of Health Chair Tanja Ryden. "The testing would provide a greater level of assurance that there's lower risk of transmission."
But Select Board Chair Shana Shufelt brought up concerns with the logistics of testing as well as potential issues with union contracts.
"I would hope that they would get vaccinated or tested voluntarily, I don't love the idea of mandating it," she stated.
The board decided to revisit the measure at its next meeting.
Last week the town's School Committee decided to revisit the issue of mandating masks in schools before the academic year begins on Sept. 7.
Several committee members said they felt the decision should be left up to the parents, although three parents spoke in favor of a mandate at the Aug.12 meeting.