Help us fund local COVID-19 reporting in our community

COVID-19 update for Thursday: Sununu issues ‘stay-at-home’ order through May 4, extends school closing, shuts beaches

  • Surfers distance themselves as they wait for the next wave off Bass Beach in Rye, N.H., Wednesday, March 25, 2020. With concerns over the spread of a virus outbreak, officials have recommended that the public refrain from activities where people have close contact. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A closed sign hangs in the window of a shop in Portsmouth, N.H., Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Most of the restaurant and retail businesses in the city have closed, with some offering takeout or pick-up orders, due to the virus outbreak. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A woman runs with a dog along a nearly empty Hampton Beach in Hampton, N.H., Wednesday, March 25, 2020. With concerns over the spread of a virus outbreak, officials have recommended that the public refrain from activities where people have close contact. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

Published: 3/26/2020 2:24:03 PM

Gov. Chris Sununu will issue a stay-at-home order for New Hampshire, telling all “non-essential businesses” to end in-person dealings starting midnight Friday, March 27. All state beaches will also be closed.

“This is not a shelter-in-place order. We are not closing borders, transportation; no one will be prevented from leaving their home,” Sununu said in a press conference Thursday, describing the order as a formalization of current suggestions. “Stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Many in New Hampshire have … done a commendable job in practicing social distancing.”

“We are not calling out the National Guard to force people into their homes,” he said. “You can walk, go to the store, go to work – but beyond essential necessities, stay at home.”

The stay-at-home order will last through May 4. Sununu extended the remote-learning order which closed schools until May 4, as well.

New Hampshire is the last state in the Northeast to adopt a formal stay-at-home order. “This will align with our regional partners. New Hampshire and Massachusetts are closely intertwined,” Sununu said.

The list of essential businesses, Sununu said, includes health care facilities, day-care centers, gas stations, grocery and convenience stores and hardware stores, homeless shelters, and “restaurants and breweries,” as well as other businesses.

“There’s a lot of flexibility here,” Sununu said. The New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs will be maintaining the list and can answer questions, he said.

Sununu and other officials also announced an emergency day-care system, supported and overseen in part by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation plus $4 million in federal funding, to provide daycare for employees who are deemed essential.

Employees who need child care can call 855-393-1731 to find out more.

“These are tough decisions, but at the end of the day we know the worst may still be ahead of us,” Sununu said. “With the anticipated surge in hospitalizations, now is the time to take these … steps.

“These are unprecedented times,” he said.

Slow delivery draws criticism

New Hampshire’s four-Democrat congressional delegation is criticizing federal health and emergency management agencies for delays in receiving medical supplies – some of which had already expired – to help the state deal with the coronavirus.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas said it is their understanding that one supervisory error at the Federal Emergency Management Agency resulted in a request sitting unprocessed for four days.

When New Hampshire received supplies in response to its March 17 request, some of it was expired, and the 16,000-plus gloves that were sent were latex, “which are unusable in the medical setting due to latex allergies,” according to the letter sent Wednesday to the heads of FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The delegation said between this shipment and a prior one this month, the agencies have provided only 28% of respirator masks requested, one-third of nasal swabs needed, about 26% of surgical masks and no ventilators.

“Health care providers from across New Hampshire are exasperated by this piecemeal approach, which has not afforded them the supplies they need,” the delegation wrote.

Shaheen’s office said the agencies hadn’t responded to the letter. Messages seeking comment were left Thursday.

Nationally, states have been pressing the federal government for more supplies and economic aid to battle the coronavirus. A $2.2 trillion aid package to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic was making its way through Congress.

Stay off the beach

The police chief in Rye, New Hampshire, said he wants all seacoast beaches closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief Kevin Walsh said he is concerned about crowds at the beaches and has asked local and state officials to close them, WMUR-TV reported.

“People are just going to start coming and packing the beaches. And most people say, ‘Chief, they’re social distancing, they’re 6 feet away.’ But, they traveled here. They’re going to our stores,” Walsh said.

Gov. Chris Sununu’s office said it is continuing to evaluate the COVID-19 situation. State parks officials have asked visitors to keep groups under five people and maintain at least 6 feet of distance.

Colby-Sawyer postpones graduation

Colby-Sawyer College on Wednesday said it has extended its “remote learning” format for students through the rest of the spring semester.

The New London-based college also said it has postponed its May 9 commencement, with hopes for an in-person ceremony likely to be held over the summer. All degrees would still be certified and effective as of May.

Students were told to “refrain from traveling to campus to pick up their belongings until they’ve been asked to do so.”

Pledge drive

New Hampshire state law requires that public school students be given the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day, if they wish to, and some students appear to be continuing the practice even from home.

The New Hampshire Department of Education on Wednesday put out a video montage of students saying the pledge at home. It can be viewed on YouTube.




Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2019 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy