Jun. 2—Manchester aldermen on Tuesday voted unanimously to drop a requirement that people wear masks inside city buildings and on city property .
The vote came after Manchester Health Director Anna Thomas said she would support rescinding the mandate — passed last November — based on current COVID-19 case numbers and data.
According to Thomas, 63% of Manchester residents have registered for their COVID-19 vaccination, out of an estimated 98,000 eligible residents 12 years of age and older.
More than 52,600 residents have received one or more doses, and more than 40,600 are considered fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The data do not include residents and staff who were vaccinated through federal programs, including anyone affiliated with the Department of Corrections, the VA Medical Center or long-term care facilities.
Over the past seven days, the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests in Manchester has fallen to 1.5%, lower than Nashua (2.8%) and the state overall (1.8%).
"The rapidly declining rates of COVID-19 in the city of Manchester are an encouraging sign," Mayor Joyce Craig said in a statement. "Anyone 12 years of age and older is eligible to receive a vaccine, and I encourage everyone who is able to get vaccinated. The sooner more residents are vaccinated, the sooner we can ensure our entire community is healthy and safe."
According to Thomas, "Those numbers are going in the right direction."
Thomas said the vaccine provides protection against severe illness and hospitalization related to COVID-19, which is "especially critical" for seniors and people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease.
The motion to rescind the mask resolution was made by new Ward 6 Alderman Sebastian Sharonov.
Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh said data provided by Thomas supported a vote by the board two weeks ago to hold off rescinding the resolution.
"It's great to get that science from a professional like you, like they said the 'voice of reason,' throughout this whole thing," Cavanaugh said. "It gives me assurance. It's great to see where we are. With your recommendation I'm glad to support this."
Craig said the data show how quickly the COVID-19 situation is changing in Manchester.
"Where we were last meeting, to where we are now, there's a dramatic difference," Craig said.
Thomas encouraged anyone who has not been fully vaccinated to continue wearing masks indoors or when they can't social distance.
"We want to continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated at this point," Thomas said.
The Manchester Health Department announced Wednesday it will be offering a free walk-in vaccination clinic on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for people 12 or older.
Weekly clinic hours will begin on Wednesday, June 9 and no appointment is necessary. All three vaccine types will be available — Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson — while supplies last. The Health Department is located at 1528 Elm St. and is accessible by MTA bus transportation.
For questions or assistance finding a vaccine, residents can call the city's COVID-19 Hotline at 603-668-1547 (Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.).
Additional vaccination clinics at pharmacies and supermarkets can be found by visiting www.vaccines.gov