All visitors to the town office must wear masks starting Monday, Dec. 6 and likely continuing through at least mid-March.
Employees must wear masks when they move around the building, but not at their desks. Members of boards and committees do not have to wear masks during meetings if they maintain 6 feet of physical distancing.
The Board of Selectmen adopted the requirement in a 3-0 vote on Thursday, Dec. 2. The requirement replaces a recommendation to wear masks at times of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19 in Cumberland County.
“I know some people aren’t going to be happy with it,” said Kevin Johnson, chair of the Board of Selectmen.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Johnson added. “My grandkids don’t care, so why should I?”
Deputy Town Administrator Terri-Lynn Sawyer said that the majority of visitors to the town office already wear masks.
Selectman Jane Covey suggested that residents can complete many transactions online if they cannot or prefer not to wear a mask.
The town will post signage about the requirement and make masks available at the front door.
Johnson said he would like to leave the requirement in place until after the annual town meeting in March, then review the requirement in the context of up-to-date COVID-19 data.
Board members hope to have a traditional, in-person town meeting in March, after two years of conducting the town meeting by referendum. “I love town meeting,” Johnson said.
In a related discussion, the board opted not to mandate vaccines for town employees.
“I’m not comfortable making somebody get vaccinated,” Johnson said.