Mask ordinance proposal could come to Manchester next month

Manchester Ink Link
Published: 8/5/2020 5:17:07 PM

The Queen City does not have a mask ordinance yet, but it could have one soon.

On Tuesday night, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen heard a COVID-19 pandemic update from Manchester Health Department Director Anna Thomas that alluded to a potential mask ordinance proposal aimed for next month.

Thomas told the board she did not have a proposed ordinance to recommend to the board right now due to logistics surrounding compliance, stating that she felt it would be unfair for police officers to hand out tickets for non-compliance. Instead, she said she is looking for help from the state in regard to compliance officers who could issue tickets, which would only be offered toward people who are indoors and refuse to comply with the ordinance.

Alderman Joseph Kelly Levasseur asked Thomas why people should wear masks given the confusion regarding whether their main purpose is to prevent catching COVID-19 or giving it to someone else. Thomas replied that while cloth masks may prevent giving the disease to others, there are various levels of masks and higher quality masks can both protect the wearer and others around the wearer.

Levasseur also urged greater oversight over homeless residents camping in public areas along Canal Street, believing that not ticketing those people while ticketing others would construe a double standard.

Alderman Keith Hirschmann opposed the idea of an ordinance, stating that he wears one when around people he doesn’t know, but the matter should be enforced through personal responsibility. He referenced the recent opening of three public water-related recreation areas and the fact that there are only 12 current COVID-19 cases in Manchester’s two public hospitals as proof the pandemic is under control in Manchester.

However, Thomas indicated that while New Hampshire is doing better than some other states, vigilance is still needed.

“I wish everybody had that standard of personal responsibility in a community, but not everybody does,” says Thomas.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org. 




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