Municipal mask mandates remain in place across New Hampshire

  • The statue of former governor John Gilbert Winant on Park Street in downtown Concord wears a mask last summer. Courtesy

Published: 4/16/2021 2:28:15 PM

New Hampshire’s statewide mask mandate is expiring, but local ordinances requiring the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus remain in place in several communities, including Concord.

“The Concord City Council has determined that to continue to reduce the spread and infection of COVID-19, it is in the interest of the health and safety of all Concord citizens, residents, visitors, businesses, and the employees of our city and businesses, to wear face coverings while inside a retail establishment,” stated a newsletter from City Manager Tom Aspell posted Friday. “This includes, but is not limited to, department stores, drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, and retail or wholesale stores.”

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.

Concord’s ordinance requires residents to wear masks in some areas and encourages them to wear masks in other places, like city recreation trails and sidewalks.

“Customers are required to wear a face covering at all times when inside a retail establishment, including any outdoor retail areas where business is conducted,” Concord’s ordinance states.

A first offense results in a written warning, a second offense can result in a $15 fine. Children under 5 are not required to wear a mask.

Sununu made clear that his decision to do away with an across-the-state rule did not revoke any local control over the issue.

“It is important to note that this mandate going away will not limit or prevent the ability of private businesses and local cities and towns from requiring masks,” Sununu said Thursday. “Of course, we continue to encourage folks to wear masks when they are unable to socially distanced.”

In Durham, where the University of New Hampshire is located, masks will still be required.

“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.

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2020 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy