PLYMOUTH — The Select Board on Monday night passed an ordinance requiring that the public wear a facial covering when entering any business or government building.
There is no statewide mandatory mask rule, but a number of municipalities have passed such ordinances, including Durham, Keene, Portsmouth and Nashua.
CEO Michelle McEwen of Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth sent a letter to the board in favor of the ordinance, noting that 30 states are now seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitals in some areas of the country are filled to capacity.
She noted that with schools and colleges reopening, the risks could increase in New Hampshire, which has had a better experience with the pandemic than some states. Plymouth State University has more than 4,000 students.
“For the sake of keeping our residents, students and visitors safe while moving our economy forward, Speare Memorial Hospital encourages everyone in our community to do the right thing, to minimize the spread of COVID-19, which includes wearing masks, social distancing and hand hygiene,” McEwen said. “To this end, we heartily support the mask ordinance brought before the town.”
The Select Board held its meeting online, and some of the people who spoke were in the town square protesting against the ordinance, including Micah Mickelboro.
“This is tyranny what you are doing,” he said. “If you think this is right, you are wrong. Everyone should have the freedom to choose. Everyone should be able to choose whether to wear a mask or not to wear a mask.”
The ordinance also requires employees of all businesses to wear a face covering when interacting with the public and whenever they are within 6 feet of a co-worker or a customer.
Face coverings are not required in outdoor public spaces such as roads, sidewalks, trails and outdoor work sites when people can maintain 6 feet of distance.
The public can adhere to state guidelines on social distancing at athletic clubs.
Members of the public entering a restaurant must wear a face covering, which can be removed while seated at a table.
People who violate the ordinance will be subject to a warning the first time, increasing to $100 if they refuse to put on a face covering and $200 for second and subsequent violations.