WILTON — The Wilton Select Board voted Monday to continue to require masking on all town properties, including the town hall and recycling center, despite the statewide mask mandate’s expiration last Friday.
The statewide mandate was retired by Gov. Chris Sununu last week, making New Hampshire the first state in the Northeast to do so.
Town Administrator and Town Health Officer Paul Branscombe told the board during its Monday meeting that positive cases of COVID-19 are rising in Wilton.
In March, the town had a recorded 28 positive cases, and in April, as of April 19, there were 27 positive cases recorded — about 25 percent of the total 203 positive cases the town has seen since the start of the pandemic.
“I think we’re going to see an increase,” Branscombe said, of the spring trend.
Selectman Kermit Williams pointed out that Wilton had recorded only about 10 positive cases during the first six months of the pandemic.
“People are starting to move around more and are not being as cautious,” Select Board Chair Kellie-Sue Boissonnault said.
Current research into the transmission of the virus suggests that touching surfaces has a very low transmission rate, and evidence suggests the most likely way to catch it is from person to person through water droplets. So masking continues to be important and should be encouraged even among those who have completed the vaccination process, Branscombe said, echoing CDC guidance.
There are Wilton businesses still requiring face coverings in their storefronts, and the town hall has also maintained its signs asking residents to wear masks on the premises, Branscombe said.
Boissonnault said she would not be in favor of creating a mask mandate for the entire community, but said the board should be “encouraging” the public to continue to wear masks while in public.
“Don’t make us make it a rule,” she said.
Selectman Matt Fish said that on town-owned properties, the board should still enforce the wearing of masks. He moved to continue the mask mandate for town of Wilton properties, including the town hall and Recycling Center, which serves multiple towns in the area.
The board unanimously agreed to the rule.