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Peterborough tables mask ordinance in light of state mandate

  • Selectman Bill Taylor sports a mask during Governor Chris Sununu’s recent visit to Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/25/2020 4:27:25 PM

The Peterborough Select Board opted to postpone discussion of a townwide mask ordinance in light of last week’s statewide mask mandate.

Although Peterborough’s proposed ordinance would come with a $200 fine for business owners who repeatedly violated the ordinance, the statewide mask mandate offers no penalty for individuals choosing to disobey it, as previously reported

That difference came up in the Board’s deliberation on Monday, Select Board member Ed Juengst said, as well as the fact that Governor Chris Sununu said towns and cities could enact stronger mandates if they chose. However, the Board ultimately wanted to wait and see what effect the Governor’s mandate would have. “That doesn’t mean that it’s the end of [the discussion],” he said. Board members heard that one local business that hadn’t been enforcing a mask policy had started to do so since the state mandate was announced, Juengst said, and that most of the reports they’ve received indicate that most business owners are enforcing a mask policy indoors, and most people are wearing masks. The Select Board still wants to encourage mask-wearing compliance, he said.

Beyond the town ordinance’s potential redundancy in light of the state mandate, strain on the police department was another issue factoring into Monday’s decision to table the discussion, Deputy Town Administrator Nicole MacStay said. “A town-wide ordinance would rely on the Peterborough Police Department for enforcement, however at this time we are very short-staffed at the PD, and resources are already strained,” she wrote on Wednesday.

Peterborough’s proposed ordinance would have only applied to businesses. It would require all restaurants, stores, and offices in town to require members of the public to wear a face covering while patronizing them. Businesses in violation would receive a warning for the first offense, followed by a $200 fine for every subsequent violation, as previously reported.


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