Residents of NH town concerned as hundreds are expected for religious retreat

NEW IPSWICH, N.H. (WHDH) - Residents in New Ipswich, New Hampshire are raising concerns about a religious retreat scheduled to take place this weekend.

The 10-day event, hosted by the group the Last Reformation, is expected to draw hundreds of from out of state. Nearby businesses and residents are concerned since the same group did not follow COVID-19 protocols during its last event in Illinois.

“They reiterated during that meeting that this group would not be wearing masks or doing the social distancing,” a town official said about the group.

An organizer with the Last Reformation said the event has been blown out of proportion, promising to adhere to safety measures during the pandemic and stressing that it is on private property.

“You’ll go down and see our tent – there is a sanitizer. In our tent, there [are] chairs set up with social distancing,” the organizer said.

7NEWS wasn’t allowed to go inside the large tent at the campground, but Sky7HD flew over the event space.

The organizer also pushed back on claims that members of his group will go out into the community, potentially infecting people if they have COVID-19.

“We go out on the street, but it’s not knocking on doors,” he said.

“I already got reports that they are approaching people in Walmart here, and in Market Basket,” one resident said.

The group plans to host a Q&A session to address any concerns with community members on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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