Council to revisit city mask mandate

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/21/2022 9:36:08 PM
Modified: 3/21/2022 9:35:19 PM

LEBANON — The Lebanon City Council will consider rescinding the city mask mandate at its annual organizational meeting Wednesday night.

The council will hold a public hearing on the mask ordinance, which went into effect Sept. 1 and was amended in November.

The council enacted the mandate when cases skyrocketed as first the delta variant and then the omicron variant swept through New England. In recent weeks, cases have been decreasing and hospitalizations and deaths have been on the decline.

The hearing, rescheduled from March 16 because of an issue with it being properly noticed, will take public input on the citywide mandate requiring face masks in indoor spaces.

If the council votes to rescind the order, the change could take effect as soon as Thursday.

City Health Officer Calvin Hunnewell, in a memo to the council, said he no longer supports mandatory face mask requirements in the city.

Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that wearing a mask should be based on personal preference and informed by one’s own personal level of risk, Hunnewell said.

Also, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu confirmed the state is no longer recommending universal indoor facemask use and the state epidemiologist has suggested that wearing a face covering should be an individual preference, Hunnewell added.

After elections on March 8, the council will have one new member, Christian Simon.

He ran unopposed for the seat vacated by Jim Winny, who has served on the council since March 2017.

Four other council members will return to their seats. George Sykes, Karen Zook, Timothy McNamara and Erling Heistad all ran for reelection unopposed.

The council also will elect the mayor and assistant mayor as well as other annual housekeeping chores.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall and also is available online at

Darren Marcy can be reached at or 603-727-3216.

Valley News

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