CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A bakery, bagel shop and pizza place each have been fined $500 after repeated complaints about staff not wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
The attorney general’s office said Wednesday that it has assessed penalties against Simply Delicious Baking Co. in Bedford, What a Bagel in Nashua, and Checkmate Pizza in Concord. Two other establishments — Game Changer Sports Bar and Grill in Londonderry and the Common Man Barn on the Pemi in Plymouth — were issued warnings.
The bagel shop had been warned at least five times by both police and state officials that employees must wear masks when directly serving customers, the attorney general’s office said. Owner Christopher Weier likened the requirement to speed limit laws.
“We were of the mindset that the ordinance was similar to you driving 31 in a 30. Yes, technically it’s illegal but are we really going to hit people for this?” he said in a phone interview. “We were kind of operating under that mindset of allowing customers to make decisions for themselves. If they weren’t comfortable coming, they didn’t have to come in. We thought we could all be grownups about it.”
Owners of the bakery and pizza shop, both of which faced similar complaints, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did the owners of the Londonderry sports bar or Plymouth restaurant.
The attorney general’s office said the sports bar allowed staff to work without masks, allowed customers to mingle without masks during corn hole games and hosted a beer pong tournament despite being told to cancel the event. Investigators said the Common Man didn’t violate the rules but noted a “disturbing lack of caution” on the part of guests at a Sept. 22 wedding.
In other coronavirus-related developments:
Gov. Chris Sununu has asked President Donald Trump to authorize more New Hampshire National Guard personnel to help the state with the future distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, and other duties.
This year, approval was given for up to 400 guard personnel through Dec. 31 to help with testing, COVID-19 mapping, supporting warehouse and personal protective equipment distribution, and establishing alternate care sites and surge hospitals across the state. Sununu is now asking to retain up to 900 guard personnel through March 31, 2021.
Sununu said in a letter to Trump on Tuesday that the guard’s mission will “significantly increase beyond the current expiration date to a myriad of medical, public health and economic challenges.”
He added, “The New Hampshire National Guard’s support will be critical to our ability to vaccinate the citizens of our state.”
More than 15,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic, including 279 new cases announced Tuesday. Two new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 502.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 131 new cases per day on Nov. 3 to 340 new cases per day on Nov. 17.