Statewide mask mandate goes into effect Nov. 20

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CONCORD, NH —  Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday a statewide mask mandate for New Hampshire residents older than 5. Among the exemptions are educators, students, and staff within K-12 schools.

The order did not specify how the mandate would be enforced, or what penalty, if any, there would be for non-compliance.

The following announcement went out in conjunction with Sununu’s 3 p.m. news conference:

With rising cases, substantial statewide community transmission, and an increase in hospitalizations, today Governor Chris Sununu signed an Emergency Order instituting a statewide mask mandate in New Hampshire, as cases rose to 529 — the state’s highest total to date. The mask mandate takes effect at 12:01 AM on Friday, November 20, 2020, and will remain in effect through January 15, 2021.

“With rising cases,  substantial statewide community transmission, and an increase in hospitalizations – the data supports enacting a statewide mask mandate,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Instituting this commonsense mask mandate today will allow us to keep our economy open and help ensure our health care system has the capacity and workforce it needs in the coming weeks. By wearing a mask, Granite Staters can keep our friends, family, neighbors, and critical workforce members and those they care for safe – without shutting down the economy.”

Beginning on November 20, 2020, all persons over the age of 5 within the State of New Hampshire shall wear mask or cloth face coverings over their noses and mouths any time they are in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, where they are unable to or do not consistently maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from persons outside their own households.

For purposes of this Order, the term “public spaces” includes any part of private or public property that is generally open or accessible to members of the general public.  Public spaces include, but are not limited to, lobbies, waiting areas, outside plazas or patios, restaurants, retail businesses, streets, sidewalks, parks, beaches, elevators, restrooms, stairways, parking garages, etc.

Note: A copy of the Executive Order can be found below:

UPDATE 5:36 p.m. 11/19 – Following the Governor’s announcement, State Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) made the following statement.

“As I said during a meeting of the GOFERR Legislative Advisory Board back in July, wearing a mask is a simple, commonsense measure that has been proven to reduce positive cases. Back in July I made a motion to call on Governor Chris Sununu to issue a statewide mask mandate which was rejected down party lines. In the time since that request, New Hampshire has lost an additional 100 individuals to COVID-19. In the past week alone we have averaged 400 new cases per day. This mandate is long overdue and while I am glad to see it finally put in place, I am disheartened at the amount of time gone by and the number of lives lost by playing politics with health and safety.” 

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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!