MANCHESTER, N.H. – As of Tuesday night, a mask is no longer needed to enter Manchester City Hall or any other public building in the city.
During their first in-person meeting in several months, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) unanimously supported a motion from Sebastian Sharonov (Ward 6) making mask usage voluntary on city property for anyone that has been vaccinated, removing a resolution passed last fall making it mandatory.
Sharonov made the motion after asking Manchester Health Department Director Anna Thomas for an update on her request to delay removing the resolution, which she had made at the BMA’s last meeting.
While those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised would still be encouraged to wear masks indoors, with others also encouraged to wear masks if they feel uncomfortable in potentially cramped spaces with others, Thomas said that data no longer supported last fall’s resolution requiring mask usage on city property.
Thomas told the BMA that approximately 40,000 people in Manchester are already fully vaccinated and approximately 20,000 more are either partially vaccinated or scheduled to receive vaccinations out of the approximately 98,000 people in the city she believes are eligible to receive vaccinations currently.
Additionally, she said that since the BMA’s last meeting two weeks ago, Manchester’s infection rate had dropped from 2.8 percent to 1.7 percent, better than the state average and nearby municipalities such as Nashua, which recently dropped its citywide mask mandate. Thomas also added that as of last Thursday, the city’s 14-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the city was 98.2, the lowest it had been for months.
“I’m very optimistic toward those numbers,” she said, also noting that the most important thing at this point is to encourage more people to obtain vaccinations if they have not already.
Alderman Ross Terrio (Ward 7), who has been helping to administer vaccinations as part of his job with Catholic Medical Center, stated that Manchester residents can get same-day appointments at this point and should do so as quickly as possible if they haven’t already, noting that state-organized vaccination sites will close on July 2. After that point, vaccinations will be provided by doctor’s offices, hospitals, and pharmacies.
Thomas also said that anyone requiring transportation to a vaccination site can get a free ride from the city by calling 603-668-1547.