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COVID-19 update for Sunday: Public hearing on city-wide mask ordinance Monday night on Zoom

  • Storytime in the Community Room at the Hopkinton Town Library on Oct. 23, 2018. It is the first program held in the library since the Aug. 3 fire that was caused by lightning striking the cupola. It will be at least a few months until the rest of the library reopens. Nick Stoico

Monitor staff
Published: 8/30/2020 3:47:54 PM

City councilors will hold a public hearing Monday night on Zoom regarding a mask mandate for Concord businesses.

The idea of a mask requirement was first raised in May, but the council did not pursue it. However, medical findings promoting the efficacy of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19, mask requirements in surrounding states and requests from the public led the council to reconsider.

The COVID-19 Mask Subcommittee of the City Council drafted an ordinance on Aug. 17, and made it public, to create legislature titled “Wearing of Face Coverings in the City of Concord — COVID-19.” To be part of Monday night’s discussion regarding this ordinance, go to concordnh.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx to find a link to the Zoom meeting or a phone number to join by audio only. The page also has a link to the agenda, which includes a complete copy of the ordinance.

The ordinance requires employees of all Concord businesses to wear a face covering, “when interacting with the public and whenever they are within six feet of a co-worker or a customer.” It also requires, “members of the public entering any business, including any outdoor area where business of any sort is conducted (except as stipulated herein), work site, or City of Concord government building must wear a face covering.” Business exceptions include, “restaurants or places of worship.”

Face coverings would be not required for children under 10 years of age or for, “any person for whom wearing a face covering may pose a risk for health-related reasons.” The ordinance requires the mask covers, “at least the nose, mouth, and surrounding areas of the lower face,” but allows the face coverings to be, “factory made, homemade, or improvised from ordinary household material.”

Enforcement was one of the council’s concerns in May when this issue was first raised, and the ordinance details consequences for not wearing a face covering. The penalty for the first offense would be a written warning and for the second and any subsequent offense it’s a $15 fine.

Failure to pay the fine within 10 days results in the fine doubling, failure to pay within 20 days means the fine goes to $60 and failure to pay after 20 days also may result in a court summons.

Limited library opening

The Hopkinton Town Library will be open to patrons on a limited, walk-through basis starting Tuesday.

Appointments are requested to reserve 30-minute time slots and can be made by calling 746-3663 or emailing info@hopkintontownlibrary.org. Time slots are open to any patron from 3-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, starting Sept. 12.

Time slots will be available to seniors only from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, and for families with children only Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon.

There will be a maximum of 15 patrons in the building at a time, and if capacity is not reached through the reservations, walk-ins will be welcome.

Masks will be required. The computers will be available by appointment, and the photocopier and the fax machine are available. Tables, study rooms and meeting rooms will be unavailable until further notice.

Curbside pickup will continue and the library asks that patrons continue to use the external book return box.

Numbers update

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services reported 39 new positive COVID-19 test results over the weekend (30 on Saturday, nine on Sunday), including one new case with no identified risk factors. Eighteen of the new cases were in Hillsborough County, including nine in Manchester. The total number of diagnosed cases in the state is now 7,254.

The DHHS also announced one new hospitalized case, bringing that state total to 714. There were no new deaths announced.

Concord Hospital had received test results for 13,561 patients as of Thursday with 173 positive. None of those positive cases were hospitalized as of late last week.

Back on campus in Vermont

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott posted a Twitter thread over the weekend detailing the COVID-19 testing efforts in the state in regards to higher education reopening. Scott wrote that, “over 8,600 tests have been administered to returning students with only 19 positives. That equates to a 0.22% positivity rate, which is lower than the general Vermont population.”

Scott also wrote that more than half of the 15,270 out-of-state students Vermont plans to welcome back this fall already have been tested at least once. Of those 15,270 out-of-staters, 9,112 were back on campus in Vermont as of Aug. 26. The total number of students expected on Vermont college campuses this fall, including in-state students, is 21,292.




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