At its meeting on Thursday night, the Board of Health adopted an order requiring the wearing of masks or face coverings in all public indoor spaces and private indoor spaces that are open to the public in the Town of Amherst. The order goes into effect on August 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM.
Acting Health Director Jennifer Brown provided data to the Board of Health that showed an increasing number of cases in the Town. The order shall be effective beginning on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM. It shall remain in effect until the Amherst Health Director determines through local and regional metrics that the risk of COVID-19 spread is significantly diminished. Data will be reviewed continuously and the decisions on continuation or rescinding the order will be done using two week data trends.
“During all of July, the Town had only three confirmed cases per week. However, in the past three weeks, there have been 17 total, including at least four of the delta variant,” stated Acting Health Director Jennifer Brown. “The order was adopted to protect public health and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within the Town of Amherst,” she added.
Town Manager Paul Bockelman said, “This is a prudent action taken by the Health Department. We all know the delta variant is highly transmissible, even among those who are vaccinated. Our goal is to ensure the health of the most vulnerable members of our community and a mask mandate is the best tool we have to minimize the spread.”
Public indoor spaces and private indoor spaces open to the public include all places in the Town of Amherst into which members of the public are invited or otherwise allowed to enter a building or structure to interact with any persons in order to transact any public or private business. This includes, but is not limited to: restaurants, bars, hotels and motels, gym and fitness clubs during all activities including strenuous activity, salons and barber shops, places of worship and performance and event venues.
Music performers who are singing and/or playing brass or wind instruments are not required to wear face coverings but must adhere to social distancing of at least 10 feet from any member of the public when performing indoors.
Under the order, all persons over the age of five must wear a face mask or covering (a “mask”) when they are in any indoor space accessible to the public, unless one or more specified exceptions in apply.
The use of face masks or coverings by children between the ages of two years and five years is at the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian. Children under the age of two years must not wear face masks or coverings due to the potential risk of suffocation.
Masks must be worn at all times in public indoor spaces and private indoor spaces open to the public, whether individuals are vaccinated or not and no matter what the distances are between one person and others. Nothing in the order eliminates the need to reduce or eliminate the requirement of maintaining safe distancing of at least 6 feet from other people, excluding members of the same household. A Face Mask or Covering is anything that covers an individual’s nose and mouth including but not limited to cloth face masks, dust masks, scarves and bandanas.
Click here to view a PDF of the Board of Health Mandate