New Hampshire to go from stay-at-home to ‘safer’ at home
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Gov. Chris Sununu is allowing New Hampshire’s stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic to expire on Monday, June 15, and transition to a “safer at home” advisory with no social gathering limitations or distinctions between essential and nonessential businesses.
“We feel very confident in taking some additional steps forward,” Sununu said at a news conference Thursday.
The stay-at-home order had limited gatherings to 10 and under. There is no longer a group limit, but people are still encouraged to practice social distancing and wear masks in public, Sununu said.
Sununu also said a number of businesses would be able to open or expand under strengthened guidance and capacity limitations as of Monday, such as gyms, bowling alleys, tourist train and racetracks. Also added to the list are charitable gaming facilities, museums, and libraries.
Several businesses will be allowed to reopen on June 29 with limitations: indoor movie theaters, performing arts centers and amusement parks.
Sununu also announced the availability of the following coronavirus relief funds: $35 million for housing assistance; $50 million for broadband access; $15 million for homeless shelters; $10 million for private colleges and universities; and $2 million for partnerships with chambers of commerce.
New Hampshire residents may vote by absentee ballot during elections this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and applications for them should be distributed in places ranging from the local landfill to supermarkets, an elections advisory committee recommended.
The Secretary of State’s Select Committee on 2020 Emergency Election Support, in a report released Wednesday, also suggested secure dropboxes at town clerk offices to allow the return of absentee ballots after hours. It also recommends leasing more ballot counting machines.
Secretary of State Bill Gardner formed the committee in April to advise how to spend more than $3.1 in emergency election funds provided by the federal coronavirus relief package.
In-person voting will still be allowed. Gardner said in the report that his office is committing to provide protective gear to polling places.
Other developments in New Hampshire:
A boat that cruises around Lake Winnipesaukee will be back in business soon, with fewer outings and passengers.
The M/S Mount Washington will start offering lunch cruises on June 20, and dinner cruises on June 27.
One lunch cruise will be offered every day from Weirs Beach, including a first-time Father’s Day cruise on June 21. In the past, the holiday conflicted with Laconia Bike Week, which has been postponed. Dinner cruises will be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. This will allow time to do additional cleaning between cruises.
The number of passengers on board has been reduced by more than 50%. Buffet service will be replaced by table service on all cruises.
A little over 6,000 initial unemployment claims were filed in New Hampshire last week, down slightly from the previous week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The latest number covers new claims through June 6.
The number of new claims in a week peaked at 39,000 in early April and has since been declining.
As of Thursday, 5,209 people have tested positive in New Hampshire, an increase of 34 from the previous day. Seven new deaths were announced, for a total of 308.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.