Covid-19 updates, Featured, State News

Few area towns keen to create mask mandates

By Ethan Weinstein

Despite Gov. Phil Scott signing a legislation on Nov. 23 allowing cities and towns to create their own mask mandates, few municipalities seem keen to use the new power.

The town of Rutland is one exception. On Nov. 24, the Rutland Town Select Board, which also serves as the board of health, passed an ordinance “to require all individuals to wear face coverings while indoors at locations that are open to the public,” with exemptions for children under age 2 and a few other job- and safety-related exceptions.

Disobeying the ordinance could incur a $50 fine for a first offense, $75 for a second offense, and $100 for a third offense.

Chittenden’s Select Board also issued a preemptive mask mandate at its Nov. 22 meeting, but there was some confusion amongst the board as to where the mandate would apply. Board members seemed to agree on mandating masks inside municipal buildings, a measure that was already effectively in place.

Castleton, like Chittenden, has required masks inside its town offices since the governor ended the Covid state of emergency. Town officials have not yet decided whether to issue a mandate that would apply to other spaces.

Likewise in Mendon, masks are recommended in town offices, the town garage, and in town vehicles when social distancing is not possible. Mendon Health Officer Sara Hebert Tully said that the Select Board “declined to call a special meeting” in order to consider adopting a mask mandate. She added that Mendon’s policy in their town-owned spaces conforms to VOSHA guidelines.

Brandon and Pittsford have already decided against mask mandates, according to the Rutland Herald. In Wallingford, the possibility has not yet been considered.

In Plymouth, town officials are not planning to issue a mandate, said Select Board member Rick Kaminski.

In both Clarendon and Stockbridge, the select boards have not discussed mandates, either.

No Woodstock elected officials could be reached for comment.

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