Claremont mulls mask mandate

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 5:53 PM EST
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CLAREMONT, NH (WCAX) - Several states have adopted new mandates this week in the face of rising COVID cases. But in New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu continues to stand firm on his position that a statewide mandate is not needed. Adam Sullivan looks at how the issue is playing out in one community.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Claremont, New Hampshire, is the latest community considering a mask mandate.

“I don’t see any negative sides,” said Janet Paige, a ocal resident who says she supports masks and a city-wide mandate. “It’s not just for them, it’s for everybody else -- families, friends, neighbors,”

“It should be up to the people whether they want to wear one or not,” said Cindy Lawrence, another local resident.

The Granite State is known for its “Live Free or Die” state motto. Lawrence says that’s the way it should be. “You are going to get the coronavirus no matter what if you were going to get it. So, why should you have to wear the mask,” she said.

Neighboring communities like Hanover and Lebanon have enacted mask mandates for public areas, similar to orders in Vermont, Massachusetts, and the rest of the New England states. Meanwhile, New Hampshire, the lone holdout, is reporting hundreds of new virus cases daily.

“They help, there is no doubt, but the idea that a mask mandate is going to solve the problem, that is a comfort level that I don’t think the data bears out right now,” said Gov. Chris Sununu, R-New Hampshire.

“I really wish that he could look at the data -- which is very clear,” said Claremont City Councilor Abigail Kier. The council unanimously voted to send the issue to the city’s policy committee. While Kier acknowledges there have been disagreements on enforcement and possible penalties that still need to get resolved, she says a mandate is needed. “It’s a common-sense method of prevention for COVID-19 and we know it is effective.”

City officials say the potential new mask mandate is a work in progress. It still needs to pass through several hurdles. The city council is expected to revisit the issue on December 9th.

Related Stories:

Berlin, NH, approves mask ordinance; Virus exposure at poker room business

Another New Hampshire city enacts face mask ordinance

Enfield passes mask ordinance

Sununu won’t mandate masks but encourages them

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