To the Editor:

We are requesting The Editor investigate the Manchester Board of Selectmen and Board of Health in their proposal to impose mask mandates.

This is an attack on the personal liberties of essential workers and the economic future of small business.  This is a step backwards.  We have high vaccination rates, low cases of infection, and boosters available for some higher risk individuals. 

While parts of Massachusetts are sadly struggling to control recent COVID surges, Manchester certainly is not in that category.  We would like to know, what data and arguments were used in coming to this decision?

As of yet, my requests to the Manchester BOS and BOH have not been answered.

Why are essential workers being forced to bear the majority of the cost of this policy?  Was there any consideration by the BOS or BOH of the enormous physical and mental discomfort by store clerks, waiters, and other workers?  Was there any consideration of basic common sense that people are willingly wearing masks when they feel it appropriate? 

Education and advisories seem to be working well enough.  Is a mandate really necessary?

Finally, why are the boards proposing to limit the capacity of my restaurant in exchange to continue outdoor dining now, when summer is coming to a close? 

If this is what Mr. Federspiel identified as a town focus in his Cricket article last week as, “on-going COVID management coupled with Economic Recovery efforts for our local businesses,” then it is our belief that the planners are out of touch with the reality of small business recovery and simply passing on the responsibility of managing COVID to essential workers and small business.

Allie & Glenn Varga, Allie’s Beach Street Cafe