Trump supporters are descending on New Hampshire, one of only three states where coronavirus cases are currently waning, and locals are worried about another outbreak.
The mayor of Portsmouth is refusing to back down on the city’s mask mandate ahead of President Donald Trump’s rally Saturday at an airport, and the campaign will strongly encourage supporters to wear masks, but some area business owners are worried about sick people coming in from out of state, reported WMUR-TV.
“We made a decision for the safety of our employees and our customers to go ahead and shut down for a week, due to all the out-of-state people who would likely be coming into our restaurant,” said Sandra Makmann, owner of the Country View restaurant.
The city will help provide security with police and fire personnel, but Portland’s police commissioner Stefany Shaheen expressed concern about the costs after pandemic-related budget cuts.
“To be incurring unexpected expenses right now, not to mention what could likely happen relative to public health, it’s not tenable, it’s not fair, and these expenses should be reimbursed,” said Shaheen, the daughter of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
The city manager’s office was told by the campaign that invoices would be forwarded to the Secret Service, which is solely responsible for the president’s security.
Campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh could not promise that the city’s costs would be reimbursed, but he insisted the event would not lead to the spread of coronavirus, as Trump’s last rally inside a Tulsa arena appears to have done.
“It’s going to be in an open-air airplane hangar,” Murtaugh said. “Most of the crowd will be in bleachers outside the airplane hangar. It’s going to be a very, very safe, outdoor event.”
Supporters will have their temperatures taken before the event, and they’ll be given masks and encouraged to wear them — which few did at the indoor rally in Oklahoma.
“We expect a loud, boisterous crowd at the rally,” Murtaugh said. “I don’t want to make any predictions about it, but I know it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The RSVP page for the Portsmouth rally includes a waiver acknowledging the “inherent risk” from COVID-19 at a public event, just as Tulsa attendees were required to sign, and shields the campaign from pandemic-related lawsuits.
“In attending the event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, and waive, release, and discharge Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; Portsmouth International Airport at Pease; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers from any and all liability under any theory, whether in negligence or otherwise, for any illness or injury,” the waiver reads.