COVID update: Movie theaters, music venues can open June 29

Published: 6/19/2020 7:43:50 AM

Summer school teachers and students are getting guidance about how to stay safe, and a historic garden re-created on the Isles of Shoals every summer has a new temporary home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Teachers, students and staff will be encouraged but not required to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus this summer, according to Department of Education guidance issued Friday.

The guidance, drafted in cooperation with public health officials, says educators are encouraged to wear fabric face coverings when six feet of social distancing is difficult to maintain or when caring for students with underlying health conditions.

Masks are also recommended for students, though the guidance spells out instances in which masks are not recommended, such as for students who have trouble breathing, wear hearing aids or are likely to frequently touch the masks and render them less effective.

The rules also spell out screening, social distancing and sanitation procedures.

Cases fall

The number of new cases of COVID-19 hit a new low Thursday as guidelines were released for opening up the last wave of businesses that are still closed.

Only 17 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday, the lowest number since mid-March, before testing for the disease had really gotten going. One death and two new hospitalizations were also reported.

Also Thursday, Gov. Chris Sununu said movie theaters, music and performing arts venues can open as of June 29 but only at 50% capacity, to allow people to stay separated. Amusement parks must stay at 25% capacity.

Adult day care operations can also operate at limited capacity.

Island garden comes to mainland

A garden that once inspired one of America's foremost impressionist painters has been reconstructed in a new location because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the late 1880s, poet Celia Thaxter attracted members of Boston's literary and artistic societies to her family's hotel on Appledore Island off the coast of Portsmouth. Artist Childe Hassam kept a studio there and featured Thaxter's gardens in a series of paintings.

Typically, hundreds of people visit a recreation of the garden each summer, but the tours have been canceled this year because of the pandemic.

At the same time, the city of Portsmouth was struggling to find enough plants for its summer garden at Prescott Park. With financial help from a frequent visitor to the garden, officials this week planted a re-creation of Thaxter's garden at the Portsmouth site.

“Celia Thaxter and her garden are so beloved and visitors from all over the world are passionate about seeing it each summer so we knew we had to find the right spot on the mainland to replant this special garden for the summer,” said Jennifer Seavey, director of the marine lab. “We think we have found the perfect interim site at Prescott Park thanks to the city of Portsmouth.”

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