June 14, 2021

Senator Hassan Successfully Pushes for Update to Mask Requirement for Commercial Fishermen in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, following advocacy led by U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Coast Guard announced updated guidance stating that commercial fishermen who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask while outside on a commercial fishing vessel. Prior to this updated guidance, commercial fishermen were required to wear a mask while they work. The updated guidance comes after Senator Hassan and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) pushed the agencies to loosen restrictions for fully vaccinated commercial fishermen after hearing from fishermen in their states that wearing a mask while they work is unsafe.

 

See below for coverage highlights.

 

Union Leader: CDC revises mask guidance for commercial fishing industry

By Paul Feely

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised their guidance requiring people to wear masks on commercial fishing boats, saying fully vaccinated fishermen no longer need to wear a mask outdoors on their boats or at a transportation hub.

 

[…] The updated guidance came after Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) requested the agencies loosen restrictions for fully vaccinated commercial fishermen after hearing concerns from fishermen in their states.

 

“I am glad that the CDC and Coast Guard heeded our bipartisan call to remove the unnecessary mask requirement for fully vaccinated commercial fishermen,” Hassan said in a statement.

 

“I want to thank New Hampshire’s fishermen for their successful advocacy to remove this outdated requirement and for speaking out about the challenges they face. This updated guidance is welcome news for fishermen in New Hampshire and across the country, and I urge the CDC and Coast Guard to continue to update guidance based on the science.”

 

At a Senate hearing on the federal government’s COVID-19 response, Hassan asked CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to get new guidance out for fishermen as quickly as possible.

 

“Not only is a wet mask dangerous out on the open water, but because of the noise — both the wind and the equipment — these guys are used to relying on kind of sign language on the boat, and with the mask on, they really can’t. And it’s a real safety issue,” she said. […]

 

Seacoast Current: Seacoast Fishermen Help Get CDC Mask Guidance Changed

By Dan Alexander

 

After Seacoast fishermen explained the difficulties of wearing masks onboard commercial fishing boats to U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, officials at the CDC changed their guidance.

 

New guidance stating that fully vaccinated fisherman no longer need to wear a mask while outdoors on their boat or at a transportation hub went into effect on Friday.

 

Before the new rules took effect, the crew risked being ticketed if they were inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard, according to Linda Hunt, general manager of Yankee Fishermen’s Co-Op in Seabrook, NH.

 

[…] Hunt said that wearing a mask hinders communication between captains and their crew on noisy, busy fishing boats. Facial expressions and body language are important to help the fisherman get their jobs done.

 

"The captain has to read lips while people are talking because you got the engine running, the hydraulics running. It's just a major safety issue if you got your mouth covered up. You've got water blowing, soaking wet masks, fish guts, you're trying to gut fish, move stuff around," Hunt told Seacoast Current.

 

[…] Hunt said Hassan listened to their concerns and brought it to the attention of CDC Director Rochelle Walensky during a hearing.

 

"I want to thank New Hampshire’s fishermen for their successful advocacy to remove this outdated requirement and for speaking out about the challenges they face. This updated guidance is welcome news for fishermen in New Hampshire and across the country, and I urge the CDC and Coast Guard to continue to update guidance based on the science," Hassan said in a statement. […]

 

AP: Hassan: Mask requirement lifted for commercial fishermen

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Coast Guard have updated guidance for commercial fishermen saying those who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask while outside on a commercial fishing vessel, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan said.

 

The move comes after Hassan and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, advocated for the change. They had heard from fishermen in their states who said wearing a mask while they work is unsafe, Hassan said Sunday.

 

“This updated guidance is welcome news for fishermen in New Hampshire and across the country, and I urge the CDC and Coast Guard to continue to update guidance based on the science,” she said in a written statement.

 

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