Lebanon passes mask mandate, following orders in Hanover, Enfield

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/13/2020 5:28:30 PM
Modified: 8/13/2020 5:28:20 PM

LEBANON — City officials passed an ordinance Wednesday night requiring people in Lebanon to wear face masks inside businesses, government buildings and other public indoor spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The City Council voted unanimously to impose a “mask mandate” similar to those recently passed in neighboring Hanover and Enfield.

Lebanon’s ordinance, which takes effect immediately, requires employees to wear coverings over their noses and mouths when they are within 6 feet of co-workers and customers who are not members of the same household.

Masks must also be worn by customers and other people when inside any “business, governmental or nonprofit,” or while riding on public transportation, such as Advance Transit buses.

Masks are “strongly recommended” for people utilizing the Northern Rail Trail, Mascoma River Greenway and sidewalks, but not required.

The City Council had initially proposed mandating masks outside, but changed course on Wednesday after some residents worried the requirement was too onerous and could be difficult to enforce.

“If there is some kind of a spike (in coronavirus cases) or we see testing produce more positive results than we have seen, I would very much like to return to this quickly and move toward a more restrictive mandate,” City Councilor Karen Liot Hill told colleagues during a roughly two-hour meeting held via teleconferencing software.

Under the ordinance, Lebanon’s police would be responsible for handling violations. Those who refuse to put on a mask after being asked could face a $100 fine for a first offense and $250 for any subsequent offense.

Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday issued a statewide mask requirement for gatherings of more than 100 people, but otherwise has left the issue to local municipalities.

In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott passed an order that took effect Aug. 1 requiring face coverings in public outdoor and indoor spaces “any time it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet with others from outside their household.”

This story will be updated on Thursday.Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com.

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