Town Supervisor Peter Parsons on Thursday declared a local state of emergency for the Town of Lewisboro due to a steep increase in COVID-19 cases, which stood at 36 at the time of the order.
It was further ordered that masks must be worn at all times in most indoor spaces in town that are accessible to the public. Only patrons seated at restaurants and taverns in town are exempt from the mask order. Customers at grocery stores, pharmacies and other commercial establishments are required to wear masks.
Mr. Parsons said masks have been continuously required in the local government buildings. The newly issued order extends the mandate to all other indoor public spaces that are not exempt.
“I’m just trying to reduce the speed of growth of delta,” Mr. Parsons said, referring to the virus variant that is driving a jump in COVID-19 cases across the country.
The emergency order, which Mr. Parsons said had the support of the entire Lewisboro Town Board, is in effect for five days until Tuesday, Aug. 24.
According to the Lewisboro town clerk, Mr. Parsons declared the first local state of emergency due to the pandemic March 17, 2020. Prior to Thursday’s action, the most recent declaration took place July 8, 2020.
Mr. Parsons said he will continue to renew the current declaration for as long as needed, as he did with prior similar actions.
Mr. Parsons said the most effective way he can institute an indoor mask mandate was through exercising emergency powers under a local state of emergency. With local schools set to open in early September, Mr. Parsons said it was incumbent on local government to act.
“We have got to get our kids back to school,” Mr. Parsons said, adding that it was also critical for parents to be able to return to work.
In addition, Mr. Parsons said the declaration was particularly important for Lewisboro, as opposed to the neighboring towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, on account of the town’s close proximity to Ridgefield and Danbury, Connecticut, both of which have increasing virus cases.
Mr. Parsons said he expects similar declarations to continue to appear throughout the state, and, added that he would not be surprised if Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul introduced a similar mandate for the state, or at least for counties posing the greatest risk. Ms. Hochul is scheduled to take over the state’s executive role from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, Aug. 24.
“I think it’s really important to get this done and try to stop it in its tracks,” Mr. Parsons said.
Lewisboro Police Chief David Alfano said Lewisboro officers will be going to each business in Lewisboro to explain the order and give handouts and a notice to be hung in the business’s entrance.