NH chambers urge public to maintain Covid guidelines after governor lifts mask mandate

In joint statement, they call for customer to ‘listen to and support’ businesses

Mas SignA coalition of seven New Hampshire chambers of commerce have issued a joint statement urging members of the public to support local businesses by continuing to social-distance, wear masks and follow other Covid-19 safety guidelines.

The plea, issued Friday, came on the heels announcement by Gov. Chris Sununu that he would not extend New Hampshire’s mask mandate, citing dropping death rates and the state’s growing vaccination rate. With the announcement, New Hampshire became the only state in the Northeast without a mask mandate.

While deaths and hospitalizations have been dropping, the number of Covid cases has been on the rise in recent weeks.

The coalition, which calls itself the New Hampshire Commerce Corridor, also urged customers to continue respecting businesses and employees after the state transitions from various specific reopening guidelines to “universal best practices” on May 7. In addition to dropping the mask requirement, Sununu also eliminated remaining restrictions on businesses and replace industry-specific rules with universal safety recommendations that day.

“Throughout the pandemic the business community has proven to be innovative and resilient no matter what challenges have been thrown their way. We urge all citizens to listen to and support these businesses as they continue to adapt to new changes in guidelines and phases of the pandemic,” the statement says.

The coalition includes the Greater Manchester Chamber, Greater Concord Chamber, Greater Nashua Chamber, Greater Salem Chamber, Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber, Greater Merrimack and Souhegan Valley Chamber and Greater the Hudson Chamber.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire’s local ordinances requiring the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus remain in place in several communities, including Concord, Nashua, Keene and Durham. Concord’s ordinance is set to expire June 1, Durham’s expires June 5 and Portsmouth’s on June 30, though they could be renewed.

Sununu made clear that his decision to do away with a statewide rule did not revoke any local control over the issue.

He said that “this mandate going away will not limit or prevent the ability of private businesses and local cities and towns from requiring masks,” Sununu said Thursday in announcing he was ending the mandate. “Of course, we continue to encourage folks to wear masks when they are unable to socially distanced.”

New Hampshire was the last state in New England to adopt a statewide mask mandate in November and was the first to lift it.

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