Ossipee selectmen Aug 3

Ossipee selectmen say they will discuss masks at town hall at their Aug. 10 meeting. They are leaning towards recommending but not requiring them. From left: Martha Eldridge, Sue Simpson and Jonathan Smith. (DAYMOND STEER PHOTO)

OSSIPEE — Selectmen on Monday decided they would talk about whether to mandate masks at town hall next week.

They said they are leaning toward recommending masks instead of making them mandatory.

"Discussion of masks etc. in Town Hall" was an agenda item for Monday's meeting. Selectmen were supposed to discuss it at their work session, which was scheduled  to start at 2:15 p.m. in their conference room. Selectmen then moved down to the Bub Avery Gym at 4:15 p.m. for their regular meeting. 

However, Martha Eldridge, the board's chair, said during public comment that they didn't end up discussing masks at all. 

Jonathan Smith said he wouldn't infringe on people's "civil liberties" by making them wear a mask but also said he wouldn't "have a problem" if someone chose to wear one. 

"My vote on masks would be absolutely no, but I won't be here next week," said Smith. 

The Sun spoke to Smith by phone on Tuesday morning. He said the government should always err on the side of liberty and freedom. 

"It's not the government's role to micromanage your life on a daily basis," said Smith. 

He said he's seen a study form Holland that shows that masks don't work and that the virus is .1 micron and cloth masks can have holes up to 100 microns so the virus could easily pass. 

Eldridge said she couldn't think of a reason why the selectmen couldn't just recommend people wear masks. 

"Then you aren't forcing anybody," said Eldridge. 

Selectman Sue Simpson said she agreed and if there is to be a requirement then it should be discussed further. 

Eldridge said masks will be left on the agenda. Selectmen didn't wear masks, nor did town administrator Matt Sawyer or secretary Angela Rizzitano, who were also seated socially distanced at the selectmen's table. 

There were a handful of other people at the meeting, and all but one woman and a reporter didn't have a mask.  

Meanwhile, in Conway, masks are required to enter the town hall but people can take them off if they can be seated while being socially distanced. 

"If you do not have one ( a mask), we can supply you with one," states conwaynh.org. "If you cannot wear one or choose not to wear one, we respect your choice and we will gladly assist you at your car."

Ossipee reopened the selectmen's office at town hall June 22. 

In Bartlett, Jackson, Madison and Tamworth, access to the town offices is restricted but residents of those towns continue to be served in variety of ways such as online, by phone, curbside or by appointment. 

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