New Hampshire to get at least $1.25B in virus relief package
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire is expected to receive at least $1.25 billion in support from the federal coronavirus relief package and is making more safety adjustments to slow the spread of the virus. More on developments in the state:
That amount is part of a $150 billion fund that will assist states incurring costs and losing revenue because of the pandemic, New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan said. The legislation passed in Congress on Friday.
The package provides funds to help small businesses, health systems, unemployment insurance, individuals and families.
Nearly 190 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in New Hampshire, with 30 of those hospitalized. Two people have died, the second announced Friday. The second person was identified by the state as a “male resident of Hillsborough County who was over 60 and had multiple underlying health issues.”
It was not immediately known if that number included three workers at Shaw’s supermarkets in Dover, Littleton, and Woodsville, New Hampshire, who tested positive for the virus. A spokeswoman for the chain confirmed the cases in a statement Friday. No further information was given about them, and a state Health Department spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.
Toll collection lanes on New Hampshire highways that make change for drivers will become “Exact Change Toll Fare Only” lanes to support the health and safety of customers and workers during the pandemic, the state Transportation Department said.
The switch will be in effect as of 12 a.m. Monday.
The department also said that because of reduced traffic volumes, toll plaza cash lanes will not be staffed 24 hours a day. Instead, they will be staffed from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If a driver doesn’t have the exact fare, a toll attendant will be available in the Cash/E-ZPass lanes to explain payment options.
“Our toll attendants are gloved and have access to supplies to clean in between shifts and in between transactions,” department spokeswoman Eileen Meaney said. “All cash transactions require exchange. By moving to an exact change standard, we reduce that exchange to one exchange versus several.”
To avoid getting an invoice, customers may pay online within seven days at www.ezpassnh.com using the “7-Day to Pay” option or call the E-ZPass Customer Service Center at 877-643-9727.
Gov. Chris Sununu issued an order that suspends fingerprinting for criminal background checks, due to concerns about the coronavirus. The Department of Safety may allow fingerprinting “on a case-by-case basis” on a request from a state agency “when required to ensure protection of the public.”
The University of New Hampshire has extended the enrollment and housing deadline for prospective students this fall from May 1 to June 1.
“While we cannot change today’s global realities, we can give you the time to make this decision with confidence,” said Pelema Ellis, vice provost of enrollment management at UNH.
Because the university is unable to host in-person events on campus for admitted students a variety of virtual experiences are being offered for admitted students and their parents, which can be explored at https://admissions.unh.edu/admitted-students/virtual.
SOCIAL DISTANCING-EGG HUNTS
The traditional egg hunts that take place around Easter won’t be held because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but some residents have organized a hunt that incorporates social distancing from now until the April 12 holiday.
Residents in five New Hampshire towns are being encouraged to make eggs, said Kate Plumley Stewart, of Enfield.
These eggs are not for the taking, though. Residents are encouraged to create their own eggs and leave them outside their home, on a front door or in a window where they can be viewed and enjoyed from the road for an “I Spy”-type of game.
The hunt is being organized in Enfield, Canaan, and Grafton, Dorchester and Orange.