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Thread: NH Mask Mandate in Effect

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    NH Mask Mandate in Effect

    The governor of NH has announced a state-wide mask mandate to take effect Friday, Nov 20. As reported by media:

    The mask mandate, which marks a change in position for the governor, takes effect Friday and will remain in effect through Jan. 15. New Hampshire is the last New England state to impose a mandate for masks.

    “We’re elevating this message given the seriousness of the current surge,” Sununu said. “With this surge, it’s now really a stateside issue more than ever before.”
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Article Link from NHPR.org

    In response to the surge in cases and what health officials call "substantial spread" of the virus in all ten New Hampshire counties, Gov. Chris Sununu has announced a statewide mask mandate effective tomorrow, Nov. 20. The mandate covers all indoor and outdoor public spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.

    (emphasis is mine)

    In other words, if you're hiking and you cannot remain 6+ feet away from people not in your household, then you must wear a mask.

    Emergency Order 74

    There are, of course, excemptions. For example, Section 5d of the order reads:


    5. This Order shall not apply to the following:
    d) Any person engaged in physical[sic] strenuous physical activity;


    I am interested in any tips for keeping the mask readily available especially when entering the season of hats and hoods. For now, I keep it wrapped around my hand with the ear loops on my thumb, and my hand around my hiking pole. Wearing it full time would get it soaked faster than I soak through glove liners.


    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 11-19-2020 at 07:16 PM.
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Has there been a single documented case anywhere in the world of someone contracting COVID-19 while hiking?

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    My understanding is there is no penalty in case that matters to folks.

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHClimber View Post
    My understanding is there is no penalty in case that matters to folks.
    In general, state law will include some catch-all clause whereby any violation of any executive order, if the order is issued under color of a declared emergency, is subject to some kind of penalty (usually a fine, whose amount hasn't increased in decades). I was curious what New Hampshire law was, so I checked the order to see what chapters of the statute it would refer to for its authority -- those would be the places to start looking for a penalty clause.

    Doesn't matter in this case. The order is toothless:

    6. A person who declines to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a medical or developmental
    issue, or difficulty breathing, shall not be required to produce documentation, or other evidence,
    verifying the condition.
    For those who care more about the epidemiology:
    New Hampshire's per capita case numbers are better than massachusetts' but both are rocketing upwards. Massachusetts recently exceeded its April record, and New Hampshire, which was largely spared the first wave, is at about four times its spring record (which occurred in May). Hospitalizations have begun trending up in the last two weeks or so, expect deaths to follow -- but it's not clear what the CFR will be this time around. So far it looks like it's going to stay lower.

    Latest numbers as of 19 nov 2020: daily new cases per 100,000 population:
    Rhode Island: 82.7
    Connecticut: 49.2
    Massachusetts: 38.0
    New Hampshire: 27.3
    New York: 24.3
    Vermont: 14.3 (but a scary R of 1.44)
    Maine: 14.0 (lowest in mainland US!)
    and then there's:
    North Dakota: 184.8 (but an R of 1.05, so a peak soon is possible)
    Hawaii: 5.1 (and an R of 0.93)
    Last edited by nartreb; 11-19-2020 at 10:28 PM.

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    Senior Member Puma concolor's Avatar
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    As a hiker just trying to enjoy the woods and hills, this whole thing just gets weirder by the day.

    Been spending a lot of time doing mostly obscure hikes in Vermont this year, but have also been to Baxter a couple of times and my most recent hike was Mount Kearsarge in New Hampshire. Due to New York’s latest rules, this meant that I had to fill out a travel form and get COVID tested on my fourth day after returning to NY. As a Catholic school boy rules-follower, I did all of that only to find out that insurance doesn’t cover travel-related COVID testing. Out of pocket cost = $230 to find out I was negative even after my high risk (LOL) hike.

    Some people are super mad about all of the strange rules that have taken effect during these unusual times but I’m just rolling with it as best as I can. Having said that, I think I’m done with out-of-state hiking until I get that vaccine pumped into my arm. Vermont doesn’t want me and NY doesn’t want me going to NH or Maine, even though the three non-NY states I just mentioned have the lowest cumulative numbers in all of the America. And my NY County has been doing well all along. Go figure.
    Last edited by Puma concolor; 11-19-2020 at 11:27 PM.

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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    I am interested in any tips for keeping the mask readily available especially when entering the season of hats and hoods. For now, I keep it wrapped around my hand with the ear loops on my thumb, and my hand around my hiking pole. Wearing it full time would get it soaked faster than I soak through glove liners.
    I just keep my mask in my pocket when hiking (or tucked into my shorts when running) and have gotten pretty good at pulling it out and slapping it on in one quick motion. I think the key is to find a mask that goes on and off easily. The mask I'm using when hiking isn't as beefy or secure as the one I use for going in stores but it's easier to get on and off which is all I'm really looking for during these brief trail encounters.

    It gets a little trickier if I'm holding poles. Then I have to add the "poles under my arm" move to my song and dance.

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    Has there been a single documented case anywhere in the world of someone contracting COVID-19 while hiking?
    I ask myself that a lot. Also in my case I ask about group bike rides. So far, I have not found one. Nor do I even know anyone personally who has contracted the virus. I know people who know people...

    I would think that someone where would have heard if there was a spreading event from hiking. There certainly were enough people doing the 48 all summer long. I made the mistake of going to Garfield for Flags on the 48 but didn't stay very long because there were several hundred people on the summit and the trails surrounding it and nobody was distancing or wearing masks.

    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 11-20-2020 at 05:47 AM.
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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Wouldn't a buff be the easiest thing for hiking? Just pull it up over your face when you have to and take it right back off when it's not needed. In terms of protection it is probably well down the "effective list" but I personally am not super worried about getting COVID on a hike. I'd be more looking at it from a compliance standpoint than a risk standpoint. I have a bug buff I carry in Spring that is pretty light and easy to breather through. Probably just throw that in my hip belt pocket.
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    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    I've used a Buff for most of the summer, easy to pull up when passing people and provides a little protection. Fold it over for two layers and it's pretty good.

    I did the Twins last week wearing a two-layer (Burgeon) mask the whole time except eating and it went fine, although it was certainly damp by the end. I've got a group hike coming up and wanted to make sure it would work out.

    For a long time now, over half the cases in NH have been "source unknown, community transmission." There could well be hiking-related cases buried in there, even though it's most likely a pretty darn safe activity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Wouldn't a buff be the easiest thing for hiking? Just pull it up over your face when you have to and take it right back off when it's not needed. In terms of protection it is probably well down the "effective list" but I personally am not super worried about getting COVID on a hike. I'd be more looking at it from a compliance standpoint than a risk standpoint. I have a bug buff I carry in Spring that is pretty light and easy to breather through. Probably just throw that in my hip belt pocket.
    I've been wearing one around my neck all year. Pull it up when passing people. Coming up to the colder months I'm not going to be upset with a little more neck insulation.

    While researchers have ranked the effectiveness of various cloth face coverings, no previous study has ever identified any face covering that is less effective than no face covering at all.
    https://medical.mit.edu/covid-19-upd...8/neck-gaiters
    Last edited by JoshandBaron; 11-20-2020 at 08:02 AM.

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    Has there been a single documented case anywhere in the world of someone contracting COVID-19 while hiking?
    Since contact tracing is not being done 100% of the time and with so much around, you probably would find multiple choices for a possible infection location. Do you het contact info for everyone you pass? Is there a record of people sharing the Monadnock summit? (Insert any other crowded summit) I would certainly not want to be downwind on any of these. More of an issue if you are behind someone for a long period of time.

    Are the school outdoor clubs doing outdoor activities? Meet up groups and FB groups or any other group that might hike in groups of 5-12 people in a conga line? If you are solo or with one other person (esp. from same household) avoiding the most crowded trails. (Stuff most of VFTT'ers do) you should be fine. (I'M NOT an infectious disease specialist or an MD)

    I have been trying to step way off the trail and stay off a few seconds longer than usual when passing someone.
    Have fun & be safe
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    I was out on a cold weekend a few weeks ago hiking and was wearing my mask as it was a bit crowded at the start of the hike. It was nice on a cold day as it kept my mouth and nose warm. It was cotton so I probably wouldnt want it for real cold weather. I was thinking why not get a Merino wool mask and when I searched for one there are several out there. I have one on order and expect it will get hung around my neck so I can pull it up. Of course the next thing to see if it freezes up. Worst case is I have a couple of lightweight balaclavas that will work in pinch.

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    I'm not going to get uptight about passing others on the trail; a buff, scarf or a big step off the trail will suffice. I have planned my hiking to the less travelled areas and less popular times.

    However, I do believe that we all should pack a good mask on the off chance that we might have prolonged, unplanned contact with others.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    Has there been a single documented case anywhere in the world of someone contracting COVID-19 while hiking?
    Good question for sure and answer is who knows!

    A good place to do some contact tracing for this might be with the "Over 40" and "Over 50" Meetup Hiking groups.

    They are running lots of mid-week and weekend hikes these days with 20 or more participants per event.

    I've hiked with the Over 50 group on occasion but have not done so recently out of an abundance of caution.
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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