COVID Friday: Phased plan to reopen New Hampshire released while cases just keep coming

  • U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), right, looks toward inventor Dean Kamen as over 110,000 pounds of personal protective equipment (PPE) from Shanghai, China, delivered to protect medical workers and first responders fighting the COVID-19 virus outbreak, is unloaded from a cargo plane at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Shoppers, many wearing protective masks due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, wait in line at a Whole Foods store in Bedford on Friday. AP

  • A sign of thanks for those helping during the COVID-19 virus outbreak is taped to the windows of a business in Manchester, New Hampshire, Friday, May 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A sign notifies visitors that the beach is closed, due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, in Rye, N.H., Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Signs notify drivers that they are not allowed to park along side beaches which are closed, due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, in Rye, N.H., Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

Associated Press
Published: 5/1/2020 8:08:35 AM

Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday extended New Hampshire’s stay-at-home order to May 31 while allowing the restricted reopening of restaurants, hair salons and other businesses throughout the month.

The announcement came even as the state released the highest one-day total of new cases and new deaths.

The state issued universal guidelines for all businesses regarding screening of employees, workplace cleaning and other practices to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, as well as a timeline and detailed guidance for specific industries.

Campgrounds, which were already allowed to operate under previous orders, are now limited to 50 percent capacity, and out-of-state visitors are prohibited unless they are members of a private campground. Golf courses also will be limited to New Hampshire residents and members when they are allowed to reopen May 11, and in both cases, there will be other restrictions to prevent people from congregating.

Ocean beaches will remain closed, while state parks can open according to their usual seasonal schedules with some restrictions.

Hair salons, barber shops, retail stores and drive-in movie theaters also will be allowed to reopen May 11 with different requirements for the various industries. Retail stores, for example, will be limited to 50 percent capacity, and hair salons will not be allowed to offer services beyond basic haircuts and root touch-ups.

Restaurants, which are currently limited to takeout and delivery, will be allowed to offer outdoor dining starting May 18.

Hospitals, which had largely been restricted to treating COVID-19 patients and emergencies, can start performing time-sensitive procedures such as CT scans and knee and hip replacements for chronic pain starting May 4.

Also on Friday, the state said that 164 new caes of COVID-19 had been confirmed in the state, nearly twice the previous high, and nine more deaths reported.

So far, 12% of confirmed cases have been hospitalized, and almost half have recovered.

Special delivery

A cargo plane has delivered over 110,000 pounds of personal protective equipment to New Hampshire, including 4.5 million masks the state purchased for Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide, Sununu said.

The shipment left Shanghai, China, on Wednesday and arrived Thursday afternoon. The masks will be sent to the VA for their distribution, said Sununu, a Republican. The VA will reimburse the state.

“When VA Secretary Robert Wilkie reached out to me I knew this was a mission New Hampshire could take on,” Sununu said in a news release. “We owe those on the frontlines taking care of our veterans the protection they deserve.”

Wilkie said his department is proud to work with the state “as part of our ongoing effort to ensure our hospitals have access to the equipment they need to take care of our nation’s veterans.”

As the coronavirus spreads across the U.S., VA health care facilities are struggling with shortages of workers and the equipment necessary to protect employees from the virus, according to VA staff and internal documents obtained by the AP.

The shipment was secured with the help of inventor Dean Kamen and others. Kamen had assisted with a previous cargo of protective equipment for New Hampshire.

Hunter classes are online

Elementary, high school and college classes have all moved online, so why not hunting classes?

New Hampshire Fish & Wildlife’s course is mandatory for anyone who wants to buy a hunting license in New Hampshire. It is designed to teach hunters proper safety and ethics in the field while hunting.

“With in-person classes canceled at least through June due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, new hunters should visit to start their online class and their journey,” the department said.

The online course can be completed at any pace and costs $29, although it’s not everything. There is a hands-on component to learning to hunt.

“Field days will be planned so that new hunters will be prepared for this fall’s seasons. People completing their online class should watch for a field day schedule beginning in August,” the agency notes.

Festival canceled

The Prescott Arts Festival in New Hampshire has canceled its summer season because of the pandemic.

“It was a gut-wrenching decision, after all the years the festival defied the odds; 46 ye ars,” John Tabor, chairman of the Portsmouth festival’s board of directors, said. “This is a real test for all of us.”

(Staff writer David Brooks contributed to this report.)

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