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August 13, 2020
PLYMOUTH – On Monday evening, Plymouth's Board of Selectmen approved a new mandatory mask ordinance, which states, "This regulation shall remain in effect for a period of 30 days following the lifting of the COVID-19 State of Emergency by the Governor, unless the Select Board determines that the reasons for adopting these regulations still exist, in which case, these regulations shall continue in effect until rescinded by action of the Select Board.

"This came about due to students returning to college up here," board Chairman Bill Bolton said on Tuesday. "There have already been a couple students who have tested positive for Corona virus and we were concerned."

Among the requirements covered in the ordinance are that "employees of all businesses shall wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when interacting with the public and whenever they are within six feet of a co-worker or a customer."

And while employees of all businesses shall wear a mask when interacting with customers, point number two states, "Members of the public entering any business, including without limitation any outdoor area where business of any sort is conducted, including public transportation, taxis, ride share and livery vehicles, and government buildings must wear a face covering, such as a fabric mask, scarf, or bandana over their nose and mouth."

When entering a restaurant for the purpose of picking up food for take-out or any other purpose, the ordinance maintains that all must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose. While dining indoors or outdoors at a restaurant, customers may remove any face coverings when seated at their table; however, they must wear one when entering, or using the restroom of a restaurant or any other public building.

Residents, visitors and members of the public entering or present at a residential or commercial building complex larger than two units must also wear a face covering while in common areas and communal spaces.

"Face coverings are not required though in outdoor public spaces such as roads, sidewalks, trails and outdoor work sites when people can easily, continuously and measurably maintain at least six feet distance from all other people, except for family members, and except for others who share the same apartment unit, home or dwelling unit," the ordinance reads.

The term "face covering" is defined in the document as cloth or other soft or permeable material that covers the nose, mouth and lower portions of the face but does not contain any holes.

Per the town ordinance, a facial covering is not required, nor recommended, for children less than two years of age. The coverings are recommended for children ages two to five though, and required for anyone over that age. Any policies Plymouth Elementary School and Plymouth Regional High School place into effect will supersede the recommendations of the town's ordinance concerning children while attending school. The only other exception to this ordinance will be those who can show "a medical professional has advised that wearing a face covering may pose a risk to said person for health-related reasons. Any such medical documentation provided to the Town shall be kept confidential as is authorized by RSA 91-A."

Those who fail to comply with the ordinance will be first issued a warning, while failure to comply after that warning will result in a fine of $100 for the first violation, $200 for any subsequent violations.

A complete copy of the ordinance, as well as video of Monday evening's board meeting and public hearing can be found on the town's Web site.

Varney Smith
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