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New Hampshire Gov. Sununu announces end of statewide mask mandate

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Other restrictions on businesses will end on May 7

Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced an end to the statewide mask mandate as coronavirus vaccinations increased and hospitalizations decreased.

Sununu announced Thursday that the mask mandate would end on Friday.

"As fatalities continue to decline, as hospitalizations remain manageable, and as vaccinations continue to increase, the state's mask mandate will not be renewed tomorrow," he tweeted.

"This mandate going away will not limit or prevent the ability of private businesses or cities and towns from requiring masks, as was the case beforehand," Sununu added. "New Hampshire residents know how to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe without a state mandate - just as we did before the winter surge."

Sununu told reporters at a media briefing that the state is averaging one fatality from coronavirus per day, the lowest rate it's had since October. In January, the seven-day average of coronavirus fatalities rose to a high of 12 deaths.

While coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are increasing slightly, Sununu said he was not worried about hospitals being overrun with coronavirus patients.

"The pandemic is not over. And we are not claiming victory by any means," Sununu explained. "But our success has created opportunities."

Sununu also said that masking would be encouraged to prevent coronavirus infections when people are unable to follow social distancing guidelines.

"It's just a good idea," he added. "It's recommended by public health, we're strongly behind that message, and we encourage everyone to continue to do so."

The governor expects that 95% of people who want to receive a vaccination will be able to do so by May 7. On that date, the coronavirus restrictions on businesses will be lifted and become "universal best practices" instead.

Here's more about the mandate ending in New Hampshire:

NH Governor: State Will Lift Mask Mandate On Friday www.youtube.com

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