Beginning May 8th, the State has moved from its "Safer at Home" rules to guidance based on "Universal Best Practices" and those published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These Universal Best Practices address recommendations for business and other organizations as the State reopens from Covid-19 related restrictions. However, the Universal Best Practices document found on the State website at https://www.covidguidance.nh.gov makes no reference to local government operations.
This may result in some confusion regarding Covid-19 guidance and which Emergency Orders that apply to municipalities remain in effect.
Notwithstanding the move from Safer at Home to Universal Best Practices guidance, Emergency Order 12, Temporary Modification of Public Access to Meetings under RSA 91-A; Emergency Order 23, Temporary Modification of Municipal and Local Government Statutory Requirements; and Emergency Order 56, Temporary Modification of Procedure Relative to Appropriations and Tax Payments, remain in effect and have not been rescinded.
Those municipalities that may be holding public meetings remotely may continue to do so, following the provisions of Emergency Order 12.
Those municipalities that have not held public meetings remotely, or that intend to transition to in-person meetings, should follow the guidance provided by the Universal Best Practices, subject to local regulations related to masks and capacity if any.
Under state law, Selectboards and City Councils generally determine the use of municipal property, including the use of municipal buildings for holding public meetings.
Because of the many Executive Orders and the State's recent change to Universal Best Practices guidance, it may be helpful for local governing bodies to develop safety protocols and procedures for your municipality. If you would like assistance in crafting protocols and procedures under the newly effective Universal Best Practices, the Drummond Woodsum municipal team would be pleased to assist.