Westport first selectman warns residents: Avoid 'COVID fatigue,' wear a mask

Photo of Ben Lambert
Beachgoers beat the heat at Compo Beach in Norwalk, Conn. on Monday, July 20, 2020.

Beachgoers beat the heat at Compo Beach in Norwalk, Conn. on Monday, July 20, 2020.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

WESTPORT — First Selectman Jim Marpe compared the essential need of wearing face coverings to cellphones — don’t leave home without them — in urging residents to keep their guard up and avoid “COVID fatigue.”

“To those who forget, or choose not to wear a face covering, you are placing those around you in an uncomfortable position, and may be putting their health at risk,” Marpe said in a statement. “Remember to bring your face covering as if it were your cellphone.”

There have been at least six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since July 23 in Westport, which has a total of 316 confirmed cases and 15 suspected ones, according to the state’s data.

“Westport needs to remain vigilant,” Marpe said. “We must all maintain social distancing, not gather in large groups, practice diligent hand-washing, and continue to be responsible by wearing a face covering whenever leaving our homes.

“This is especially important during the summer months when we are drawn outside to exercise, shop, dine outdoors and go to the beach. Wearing a face covering and wearing it properly over both the nose and mouth protects us and protects those we may come in contact with.”

Marpe said there has been no townwide mandate requiring wearing face masks “because my leadership team believes that residents’ personal responsibility in insuring the virus does not spread in this community has a much stronger impact than the imposition of a mandate.”

“I am confident that residents, visitors and guests will be considerate of others,” Marpe said. “If we are all wearing a face covering, then we are setting a positive example to those around us. Please continue to be respectful of others and wear face coverings properly at those times when you are required to do so.”

Marpe advised beachgoers to arrive early since the beaches could be closed to additional people if crowds grow and social distancing cannot be maintained.

Marpe said signs near the beach will alert drivers if the beach parking lots are closed to more cars. He said parking for the beach on nearby streets will be prohibited.

Marpe said beaches could reopen later in the day if crowds diminish. Updates on the beach conditions will be posted on the town’s website and Facebook page.