NH Mask Mandate: Enforcement tips for your business

The NH mask mandate will likely be extended. NH AG's office advises calling police to deal with customers not following mask rules at your establishment.

Due to rising COVID-19 cases increasing community transmission Governor Chris Sununu issued a statewide mask mandate for the state of New Hampshire back in November. Governor Sununu is expected to extend the mask mandate this coming Friday as COVID-19 is still a major issue in the state, country and world. To help enforce the mandate, people who do not follow the order may receive a citation and fine. Violators can't be arrested for following the mandate.

The mask mandate is very important as it can lead to a reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates. According to WMUR, experts have estimated that in New Hampshire, 95% compliance with the mask mandate would reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by 19-30%.


Enforcing the mask mandate at your business is essential. However, doing so can be tricky if you have an unruly customer on your hands. Following a few incidents throughout the state, the New Hampshire Attorney General's office, Governor's office, and Department of Business and Economic affairs developed guidelines for businesses dealing with customers who refuse to follow the mandate. These guidelines have been created to keep employees, customers and businesses safe.

We understand asking a customer to wear a mask may be uncomfortable, but think about it this way — stores enforce health laws such as “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” If you want to be open during a pandemic, it's paramount that you enforce the mask order.

As such, we are advising Motor Vehicle businesses in the state of New Hampshire to acknowledge the following key points:

  • If a customer refuses to wear a mask without a reason that fits within one of the exceptions in Emergency Order 74, do not have your staff engage further with the customer after the refusal. Instead, call local law enforcement for assistance.
  • Place 'Mask Required' signs on doors to inform your patrons of the rules. 
  • Station an employee near entrances and provide facemasks and sanitizer to patrons.
  • If a customer forgets to wear their mask, be sure to remind them at the door.
  • If a customer states that they cannot wear a mask due to a health issue, accept that explanation. Do not ask for proof of the health condition.
  • Expect that customers will have questions, especially about others not wearing masks. Prepare your employees for these questions and how the situation should be handled. Simple explanations such as "We have checked with each customer about wearing a mask and some customers are not able to do so."
  • If a customer disagrees with your decision to allow another customer to not wear a mask, provide them with the Attorney General's COVID Compliance phone number or email and recommend they call that number to raise their concern. 603-271-1225 and E052issue.1@doj.nh.gov
  • Have a plan in place for how to handle issues when a customer just refuses to wear a mask, such as having the staff call a manager for assistance.
  • If a customer refuses to wear a mask without a reason that fits within one of the exceptions in Emergency Order 74, do not have your staff engage further with the customer after the refusal. Instead, call local law enforcement for assistance.

As soon as possible, preferably before your business or organization has an issue with a customer who simply refuses to wear a mask, contact your local law enforcement department to have a discussion about establishing a plan for how to deal with an incident like this. Having this discussion before a situation occurs will provide your staff with a sense of security as a plan will be in place.

What about the vaccine?

Because the vaccine rollout has just started, people who have been innoculated are not exempt from the order. At this time the vaccine is not available to the general public and vaccination is not widespread. Immunity takes 14 days to kick in and only occurs after the second dose, which many people have not yet received. 

People who are fully vaccinated or previously infected need to continue to practice physical distancing, avoid social groups and gatherings, and wear face masks at all times when in public places and facilities.

For more information regarding the vaccine please refer to the NH DHHS Quarantine Guidance Update.

Please refer to the Mask Enforcement Guidance provided by the New Hampshire Attorney General's office to learn what you should do to when enforcing Emergency Orders 52 and 74.