Municipal mask mandates remain in place across New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s statewide mask mandate was lifted on April 16, but local ordinances requiring the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus remain in place in several communities.

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Nashua was the first city to enact an ordinance requiring masks in May. The rules remain in place while the city’s board of health develops criteria for removing them, according to the city’s website.

Similar ordinances were enacted in Concord, Portsmouth, Keene, and Durham. Concord’s ordinance is set to expire June 1, Durham’s expires June 5, and Portsmouth’s on June 30, though they could be renewed.

Specifically, in Concord, health officials are asking people above 5-years-old to continue to wear face coverings while inside retail establishments, which include, but are not limited to, department stores, drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, and retail or wholesale stores. Face coverings will also be required to enter city buildings.

Concord’s penalties for those who do not comply include:

  • 1st offense - a written warning
  • 2nd offense and subsequent offense - a $15 fine

Failure to pay the fine within 10 business days will result in the fine doubling, and failure to pay the fine within 20 business days will result in an additional fee or four times the original fee. Finally, failure to pay the fine after 20 business days will result in the issuance of a summons to appear in court to answer the charge of violating the ordinance.

“The lifting of the state-wide mandate by the Governor does not diminish the importance of wearing a face mask,” said Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig. “The threat to public health from COVID-19 is real.”

New Hampshire was the last state in New England to adopt a statewide mask mandate in November and was the first to lift it. In addition to dropping the mask requirement, the state also will eliminate remaining restrictions on businesses and replace industry-specific rules with universal safety recommendations on May 7.

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