×

Masks required in Sunderland town buildings, recommended in businesses

  • Sunderland town offices on School Street. RECORDER FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Monday, September 13, 2021

SUNDERLAND — Beginning Sept. 3, the town readopted a mask mandate in all town buildings while recommending them in private businesses as college and elementary kids return to school amid rising COVID-19 cases in the region.

Sunderland Board of Health Chair Caitlyn Rock informed the Select Board earlier last week that local health officials planned to adopt the policy ahead of Labor Day weekend.

“We’re going to look at the entire area, while our area is still doing wonderfully, it is still increasing at a pretty steady rate — not our town, but the area,” Rock said. “We would recommend (masking) based upon the delta variant and how virulent it is.”

Rock said the mandate is one way to stop the spread of the virus, which is the key to getting out of the pandemic.

“What we want the masks to do is keep the transmission down,” Rock said. “The way to stop this is to keep it from being transmitted.”

She added the town’s “philosophy” is to keep residents “educated” about the situation as it continues to unfold.

“We tend to talk and inform rather than penalize in any way,” Rock said. “Our goal is to get people to wear masks. Our goal is to get people vaccinated.”

According to Rock, 67% of Sunderland’s population has been vaccinated, with the 20 to 39-year-old age group being the most vaccinated group. She said those vaccinated against the virus have avoided “serious disease.”

The Select Board committed to continue hosting hybrid meetings with masks on.

The Board of Health is in contact with Whately, Conway and Deerfield and will monitor the pandemic on a weekly basis, but it will conduct a formal review of the policy every 30 days. Rock said the health board will “definitely review” any sudden trends relating to caseloads.

“This is a shifting situation,” Rock said. “No one wants to keep these masks on.”