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COVID Saturday Update: Rally to fully reopen N.H. draws hundreds

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  • Jeremy Cayford of Manchester joins in a prayer at the second #ReopenNH Rally at the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. There was a much larger turnout this time at City Plaza. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Jeremy Cayford of Manchester raises his flag at the second #ReopenNH Rally at the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. There was a much larger turnout this time at City Plaza. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Part of the crowd at the #ReOpenNH Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Part of the crowd at the #ReOpenNH Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Dan Bowley of Danville brought his children to the #ReOpenNH Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. The crowd was much larger than the first rally last month. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Part of the crowd at the #ReOpenNH Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. The crowd was much larger than the first rally last month. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Part of the crowd at the #ReOpenNH Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. The crowd was much larger than the first rally last month. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Jeremy Cayford of Manchester raises his flag at the second #ReopenNH Rally at the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. There was a much larger turnout this time at City Plaza. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Part of the crowd at the #ReOpenNH Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. The crowd was much larger than the first rally last month. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Part of the crowd at the #ReOpenNH Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Saturday, May 2, 2020. The crowd was much larger than the first rally last month. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Published: 5/2/2020 4:41:02 PM

Another large group of demonstrators gathered in front of the State House Saturday, this time saying Gov. Chris Sununu’s decision to reopen parts of the state to business didn’t go far enough.

“Top-down government planning has never worked to solve problems, and it won’t work now,” Andrew Manuse, chairman of ReopenNH said before the rally. “What we’ve seen in the last two months is centralized planning creating an unfathomable economic crisis that we may not even recover from long after this virus has fizzled out. Every job is essential, and every human person plays a role in fulfilling society’s needs.”

Organizers said they would provide masks for anyone who wanted them at the rally, which drew hundreds of people. Some wore masks, many didn’t. Some stood off the side, social distancing from others, while many stood shoulder to shoulder demanding the government allow New Hampshire citizens to make their own choices.

“We want New Hampshire open now, not when a task force made up of politicians and lobbyists say it can open, and we want the respect and dignity to use our own common sense when it comes to the manner in which we do this,” said Manuse, a former Republican State Rep. from Derry.

Organizers asked that all who attended the rally conduct themselves peacefully and respectfully.

“The state and media will be watching,” the rally anouncement said.

Trails reopening

The U.S. Forest Service is reopening many of the trailheads it had closed in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest.

Officials had shut down more than 100 trailheads, shelters, picnic areas in hopes of minimizing the spread of the coronavirus after reporting an unseasonably high number of visitors who were “not able or willing” to follow social distancing recommendations. They said Friday the decision to reopen the sites was based partly on safety concerns about illegal parking and the increasing pressure the closures put on state parks.

Officials said they will continue to implement a phased opening of the forest in alignment with state and local officials.

Reopening next door

Similar to the plans unveiled Friday by Gov. Chris Sununu, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced new gradual steps Friday to reopen the pandemic-stricken economy by expanding the number of employees allowed to work at a manufacturing, construction or distribution business from five to 10 if the workers follow safety requirements.

“I’m pleased to say we’re able to get thousands more Vermonters back to work starting Monday,” Scott said.

The workers must stay 6 feet apart and be screened, including for their body temperature, at the start of their shift, and wear cloth face coverings around others.

Those businesses may expand to full operation May 11 if they comply with “additional, stringent” requirements, Scott said at his news briefing.

But he warned that the state, which has seen relatively few cases of the coronavirus, “can’t declare victory yet,” must remain vigilant and must recognize that other states nearby are still dealing with massive outbreaks.

Scott also announced Friday a new requirement that public transit employees and customers must wear cloth masks.




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