BOSTON (SHNS) – The only New England state without a mask order currently in place will on Friday begin requiring that face coverings be worn in indoor public spaces and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.
In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a similar order in May, then tightened it this month to require masks in public places regardless of distance. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, in a Twitter thread, described the new mandate as a way to keep his state’s economy open and to help keep its health care system from becoming overwhelmed.
“If you don’t wear a mask into a store and are asymptomatically spreading COVID, you risk shutting down that business for weeks, you risk unknowingly infecting someone with severe health issues or someone who works on a long-term care facility,” Sununu, a Republican, wrote. “While no one would ever intend to do this, we know that asymptomatic spread is obviously out there, and this mask mandate will help our economy remain open.”
He said there is now “substantial” community spread of COVID-19 throughout New Hampshire, including the rural, northern counties that did not see as much virus activity in the spring.
Previously, New Hampshire required face coverings at “scheduled gatherings of 100 or more people,” personal-care business and fitness centers, according to the AARP, which earlier this week listed New Hampshire as one of 14 states without a mask mandate in place.