An Emergency Public Health Order is now in effect in Nashua, requiring the general public to wear face coverings in situations where they cannot maintain social distancing (six feet of distance between themselves and others). First approved by the city’s Board of Health and passed on Thursday, May 21, by the Board of Aldermen, the order is expected to reduce asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission of COVID-19 within our community. It is effective immediately and until further notice.
COVID-19 can be spread from person to person very easily through respiratory droplets. Public Health officials have determined that it is possible for an infected individual to transmit this disease without exhibiting any symptoms. The best means of preventing the spread of a virus is through minimizing close personal contact with individuals in a public environment, social distancing, covering your mouth and nose by wearing a face covering, as well as proper handwashing.
The term ‘face covering’ refers to a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers the nose, mouth, and surrounding areas of the lower face. A face covering may be factory-made or homemade from ordinary household material. Wearing a face covering in public is a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and does not protect the wearer from COVID-19, but they can protect others in case the wearer is pre-symptomatically or asymptomatically transmitting the virus.
“For optimal protection, the following key factors should be considered while wearing a face covering. The safe use of face coverings requires the wearer to maintain proper hand hygiene by frequently handwashing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds. The wearer should prevent the spread of disease by not touching their face, nose, or eyes with unwashed hands and not touching the outside of the face covering. Lastly, social distancing by keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others also protects the spread of our respiratory droplets.” says the City of Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services Director, Bobbie D. Bagley.
When to Wear a Face Covering:
- Employees of all businesses when interacting with the public and whenever they are within six feet of a co-worker or a customer
- Entering any business, work site, or government building, including trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor, or to receive medical care
- Essential workers at a grocery store, pharmacy, or other business setting where it is hard to maintain at least six feet distance from others
- Entering a restaurant for the purpose of picking up food for take-out or any other purpose. Members of the public dining outdoors at a restaurant may remove face covering while seated at their table, but should proceed to wear a face covering when interacting with restaurant staff.
- Residents, visitors, and members of the public entering or present at a residential or commercial building complex of greater than two units while in common areas and communal spaces
A face covering is not required to be worn by any person if said person can show a medical professional has advised that wearing a face covering may pose a risk to said person for health related reasons. This order also does not require children under 10 years of age to wear face coverings, parents should make their own judgment. The use of a face covering is not recommended for children less than 2 years of age.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has instructions on how to make your own face covering in several different methods, including machine or hand-sewn, a no-sew method with a T-shirt and scissors, and a no-sew method with a bandana. You can view detailed instructions on their website, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. The United Way of Greater Nashua COVID-19 Response Team volunteers are also working to distribute free cloth face coverings at Nashua City Hall Plaza (229 Main Street) seven days a week from May 25 to May 31, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
We would like to remind our community that the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community is through social distancing and practicing proper hand hygiene. If you have to do an essential activity and cannot maintain social distancing during that activity, a cloth face covering will protect others from your potential asymptomatic transmission. If you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, please stay at home and contact your healthcare provider.
For information regarding COVID-19, visit the City of Nashua website, www.nashuanh.gov/COVID19. For additional information and resources, visit the NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) online at www.nh.gov/covid19.