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Sununu lifting mask mandate

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 1:29 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 5:29 PM EDT
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CONCORD, N.H. (WCAX) - New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said residents will no longer be required to wear masks as of Friday. Despite COVID cases now trending up in the Granite State, the governor says the current data makes extending the mandate unnecessary, although he still encourages their use.

“I would love to see people continue to wear their masks,” Sununu said at his weekly media briefing. But in the same breath, the governor said he will not be renewing the statewide mandate, citing the state’s low hospitalization and death rates from COVID. “This is what we put the mask mandate in place to protect for, and it worked.” Sununu also says that with the quick rollout of the vaccine, the statewide order is no longer necessary.

Residents lining up to get the vaccine in West Lebanon Thursday afternoon were clearly not on board with the decision. “I think it is a terrible idea,” said Tony Hamslim of Grantham. “This thing isn’t licked yet and masks I understand are as effective as the shots.”

New Hampshire was the last state in New England to require residents to wear masks indoors and outside where they could not socially distance. It’s now the first to end the order. Individual towns, including Hanover, issued their own mandate well before the state. Those are likely to stay in place.

“We are seeing it in other parts of the country, where they have lifted their mandates preemptively and they have COVID spikes,” said Keith Trottier of Caanan.

New Hampshire Thursday announced more than 552 new COVID cases, 130 hospitalizations, and three new deaths, a 10% increase compared to the previous seven-day period.

“I think while people want to move on and not be inconvenienced by masks and the pandemic and forget about it, it’s part of reality now, you kind of have to accept it,” Trottier said.

“I think people are fatigued. It’s been long -- over a year,” said Allison Porreca, a school teacher from Enfield who has been fully vaccinated. “Me personally, I feel that it adds an extra measure of safety and security. But he has had to make a lot of tough calls and I would not want to be in his position.

Restrictions for businesses, like capacity limits, will continue to be in place until May 7th, when they are scheduled to end.

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