CONCORD, NH (CBS) – New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has issued a statewide mask mandate as Covid-19 cases rise in the state. The mandate takes effect at 12:01 AM on Friday, November 20, 2020, and will remain in effect through January 15, 2021.
Everyone over the age of 5 will be required to wear a mask or cloth face covering over their nose and mouths any time they are in public, indoors or outdoors where they are unable to maintain a social distance of six feet from people outside of their own households.
“With rising cases, substantial statewide community transmission, and an increase in hospitalizations – the data supports enacting a statewide mask mandate,” said Governor Chris Sununu.
There were 529 new coronavirus cases reported in Thursday, the state’s highest total to date.
“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,” Sununu said. “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.”
Joe Bodge, the owner of Roselynn Homemade Ice Cream and Diner in Epping, said he will keep his shop closed until the mandate is lifted.
“It’s garbage!” said Bodge, who has been a vocal opponent of the mask mandate.
“That’s what America was originally built on,” Bodge said. “That’s what New Hampshire has always tried to tout. That people can make choices.”
Bodge closed up shop refusing to mask up at his own business. He said he doesn’t mind if patrons want to wear a mask, but he shouldn’t be the one enforcing it. “Because it goes completely against our belief, that people should not be forced to do something they don’t believe in,” Bodge said.
Some people agree with Gov. Sununu’s move. “I’m surprised it took this long,” said Daniel McMahon of Barrington, NH. “For people who can’t wear it for five minutes going into a store, I don’t buy it. Wear a mask. Save yourself, save other people.”