Order To Expire Requiring Masks In Nursing Homes, Hospitals

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — People will no longer be required to wear face masks in Connecticut hospitals, outpatient health care settings and homeless shelters, once a state masking order expires early Friday.

Mask-wearing provisions for inside schools are sticking around until June 30 in places where a local board or similar authority has required masks to be worn. However, the Department of Public Health said districts will still have the ability to mandate mask-wearing on their own after June 30.

“We are in a far different place than we were in March 2020 thanks to the tools we have at our disposal," said Manisha Juthani, the state's public health commissioner, “including COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, state supported testing sites and the availability of self-tests.

“And while we are learning to live with this virus and when we should ramp up and ramp down with our preparedness, we are able to move on from these orders which served a very important purpose,” she said.

The order, which expires at 12:01 a.m. Friday, stems from this January and was an extension of previous orders.

Besides the remaining mask requirements, Juthani announced that two other executive orders will also terminate Friday. The orders granted extra time for temporary licensing of advance practice registered nurses and physician assistants, and imposed rules concerning who can administered COVID-19 vaccines.

Also Thursday, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill that extends until June 30 four former executive orders that have since been codified into state law.

They deal with physical distancing in certain congregate settings; making the patient vaccination database available to medical providers; using temporary nurses aides to help alleviate staffing shortages; and providing more time to send out rental assistance payments to people facing eviction who’ve already applied to the state’s UniteCT program.