New Hampshire governor rolls out plan to start re-opening businesses in May

NEW HAMPSHIRE — New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu announced on Friday that he is implementing a new, modified stay-at-home order in effect until May 31st.

The new guidelines also allow for the gradual re-opening of businesses throughout the month in phases.

Beginning Monday, May 4th, certain healthcare services will be allowed to phase-in service.

Starting Monday, May 11th, retail stores, golf courses, barber shops and hair salons, and drive-in movie theaters will also be allowed to start opening to the public, but with heavy restrictions in place.

Restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor dining beginning Monday, May 18th.

“One of the big challenges right now is really our friends to the south in Massachusetts,” Sununu said Friday in a press conference. “It’s not about blaming Massachusetts, but the reality is the two most northern counties of that state have the highest impact of COVID.”

Sununu added that he hopes re-opening business will not entice Massachusetts residents to cross state lines for shopping, dining, etc, and potentially bring COVID-19 with them.

While every business sector came with specific guidelines, retail was no exception, and according to Sununu will only be allowed to host up to a 50% capacity depending on the building and fire code, with waiting lines permitted outside of the store so long as customers socially distance.

Restaurants will only be allowed to offer outdoor seating, but are permitted to set up tables in parking spaces, on sidewalks, on patios and other lawn areas.

Elias Kourtis, owner of Athens Restaurant in Manchester told Boston-25 News on Friday evening that his restaurant is on a busy street, so they won’t have the room to welcome guests to sit outside. “It’s tough, you know. No question about it. It’s tough for us and everybody.”

Sununu also said that beaches in New Hampshire will remain closed, due to concerns that Mass. residents will drive up and crowd them when the weather gets nicer.

“Unfortunately, beaches are one of the hardest things for us to flex open given the proximity to Massachusetts,” Sununu said.

For more information about the new stay-at-home order and other phases or restrictions, click here.

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