Several New Hampshire towns will vote this week on whether to require residents to wear face masks in public. The votes come as New Hampshire remains the only state in the region without a statewide mask mandate.
The town council in Durham votes Monday on requiring mask use on downtown sidewalks as well as in businesses and municipal buildings. Town manager Todd Selig said Durham officials developed the proposal with UNH students and the local economy in mind, as well as public health.
“We got a lot of feedback that said, ‘Look, if people aren’t wearing masks downtown, we the residents just aren’t going to shop there anymore, because we’re fearful of our health,’ ” Selig said.
Still, Selig said he’d rather the governor issue a statewide mask mandate.
“There’s huge variety in education and compliance when you move from town to town, and that creates nothing but confusion,” he said.
Selig said police will try to hand out masks to people who aren’t wearing them. Anyone who refuses to comply could face a fine.
The Upper Valley towns of Hanover and Enfield will also vote on mask ordinances Monday. Lebanon considers its own mask plan on Wednesday. Portsmouth and Nashua already have mask rules in place.