Brattleboro Considering Mask Exemptions For Artists, Bars / Restaurants | Local news


BRATTLEBORO – A masking rule in town could be changed to make exceptions for performers if they are vaccinated, and bars and restaurants when a patron eats or drinks.

At the request of Board member Jessica Gelter at a previous board meeting, Chief Executive Officer Peter Elwell prepared an amended version of the city’s resolution to exempt performers from wearing of masks during live performances. The subject will be discussed at the select committee meeting on Tuesday.

“I have included in this exemption the requirement that all unmasked performers be vaccinated,” Elwell wrote in a note, “because (1) I understand that at least some venues in Brattleboro already require that performers that they are programming for their site and (2) it seems prudent to require this for people who will be unmasked for an extended period of time projecting their voices (and droplets of saliva) onto the audience.

With this change coming for consideration, Elwell said he has also included language-exempt bars and restaurants, as board members have expressed concern about how masking will work in such businesses. This exemption would apply to establishments where “customers are in possession of food and / or beverages that they intend to consume on site”, according to the proposed wording.

“I have not included a vaccination requirement for this exemption,” Elwell wrote, “as this requirement would place a burden on business owners / operators in their dealings with all of their customers, while the exemption for performers would impose this burden only within limited limits. the universe of business owner / operator relationships with their employees or contracted members or artists.

On November 23, the Select Board passed a rule through a resolution requiring all establishments in Brattleboro “which invite the public to their premises for the purpose of receiving services, purchasing products or performing other business transactions require both staff and clients (or visitors) to wear cloth face covers or face shields over their noses and mouths inside the establishment. Elwell said the resolution says the board will consider at each regular meeting, which takes place the first and third Tuesday of each month, whether to extend, change or repeal the rule.

Elwell said that if the board wishes to keep the mask mandate or change it, a motion will need to be approved to extend the resolution for an additional 30 days, as required by recent state law that allows municipalities to ” adopt local mask mandates. The board should review the rule at least 45 days after the initial adoption, and then at least every 30 days thereafter.

On Tuesday, the council will also receive financial reports and discuss the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 for the city clerk’s office, the assessor’s office, the planning department and a list of unfinished items to be addressed in January.


Corina C. Butler