DOVER — Establishments in Dover will no longer need to require masks as they had before as part of the ski resort town’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think we should leave it up to businesses,” Select Board member Scott Salway said at the board meeting held in person at town hall last Wednesday with a remote option for participation. “To me, I think we should just let it go.”
Board members voted unanimously to rescind the requirement for masks to be worn inside establishments within Dover, which they put in place via a July 3 resolution. Following the vote, board members removed their masks.
The subject came up after the governor lifted the state’s mask mandate for vaccinated people on May 14, allowing municipalities and establishments to keep theirs if desired. Select boards in Brattleboro and Wilmington discussed theirs the night before Dover, choosing to get feedback and more information before making a decision.
Dover Police Chief Randy Johnson supported rescinding it, saying 7-Eleven had already taken down a sign about masks and allowed employees to decide whether to wear one. He said businesses can still ask customers to wear a mask and police could arrest someone for trespassing if they do not.
Board Chairwoman Victoria Capitani said each municipal building and town event can have its own guidelines.
“I think right now we have to be able to fluid and be able to adapt,” she said.
Eric Durocher, town economic development director, said two business owners approached him about irate customers who did not want to wear masks immediately after the governor lifted the state’s mandate.
“I think there could be an uptick in complaints to Randy or the police department,” he said. “It’s going to be confusing at first.”
Durocher said he could inform businesses of the board’s decision.
State and federal guidelines still call for masking at health care and long-term care facilities, correctional centers, homeless shelters and on public transportation.