On Thursday evening, the Nashua Board of Aldermen voted 10-3 to require all citizens over 10 years of age to wear masks when in businesses, according to the Union Leader. The measure was recommended by Nashua’s Board of Health. The new ordinance applies to people on a business’ property, even outdoors. It is in effect indefinitely, until repealed by the Board.
During the meeting, some Aldermen acknowledged that this new law amounted to “coercion” and raised concerns that pro-freedom activists would surely launch protests at City Hall if this new law is passed. “We can’t give in to the possibility of threats.”, said Alderwoman Patricia Klee in response to concerns about pro-freedom protesters. Alderman Richard Dowd also spoke on the record in favor of the Orwellian law, saying: “If we don’t back up our Board of Health, my God, why do we even have them? Let us show them support.”
Violating the new mask mandate could result in a punishment as high as a $1,000 fine, which would be determined by a judge. Although refusal to wear a mask would not be a serious crime in and of itself, the city’s lawyer mentioned that “no one is going to be arrested for failing to wear a mask unless the situation escalates and it potentially becomes disruptive.” Of course, any cop could easily consider any incident to be ‘disruptive’ for any reason. They could also arrest any person any time they desire for any reason or for no reason at all.
Nashua joins a growing list of US cities which now require a mask to be worn by law. As of April, cities in NY, CO, MD, and CA required masks. In New Hampshire, nearly every Democratic Representative signed an open letter to Governor Sununu urging him to mandate masks for the entire state’s population.
I must mention that this law violates the Dillon’s Rule, which is a state law prohibiting municipalities from passing laws without first obtaining permission from the state legislature.
Ironically, people in public do not pose much of a danger to others and are not in great danger themselves, even if they do not wear a mask. The overwhelming majority of people will not catch the virus if exposed to it and will not become severely ill even if they do contract it. People are naturally cautious not to breathe on each other, especially at the moment. It would seem illogical to punish violators of COVID exposure laws by purposefully exposing cops to the violators and the violators to cops. Many police officers live and work very closely with family and coworkers, spending 8 hours straight sitting in the same vehicle as partners, not to mention working in the same office or jail cells in close proximity to other cops, witnesses, victims, and criminals. Why risk exposing cops to people who are leaving others alone and simply wish to be left alone? If the goal is social distance, those enforcing the law for that very goal should not violate social distancing in the course of their primary duty. It’s backwards.
In summary, 10 out of the 13 elected officials who create policy for the city of Nashua decided that they will send men with guns (police) to punish adults who do not wear masks in businesses, even outside. Of course, if anyone other than a politician made such a threat, it would be considered assault, criminal threatening, or even terrorism, due to its political nature. As for me, I agree with the authoritarian Alderwoman. We can’t give in to threats.
UPDATE: As of November 14th, Concord, Durham, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Exeter, NewMarket, Keene, Hanover, Lebanon, Plainfield, and Enfield have joined Nashua in violating state law and violating natural rights by mandating that their subjects wear masks.