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Stay at home

Governor issues order running through May 4

By Andrea Hanley | Mar 27, 2020

Gov. Chris Sununu speaks at a news conference on Thursday at the New Hampshire Fire Academy in Concord. Sununu issued a stay-at-home order, effective mignight March 27 and expiring on May 4. Photo by JEFFREY HASTINGS

NASHUA – Gov. Chris Sununu announced a stay-at-home order Thursday, starting at midnight on Friday, and continuing through May 4.

The state’s borders will remain open for both residents and nonresidents, and does not prohibit individuals from leaving their homes, Sununu stressed.

“You should stay at your house unless absolutely necessary,” Sununu said at a press conference. “Of course, [the order] will not prevent you from leaving your home to go on a walk … when heading to the store … if you need groceries, or simply going to work, but beyond essential necessities, you should not be leaving your home.”

Sununu emphasized that a stay-at-home-order is not a shelter-in-place, but entails, “…directing all non-essential businesses that have not already voluntarily closed to end in-person and public interacting operations. …”

“I want to be clear,” Sununu said, ” no governor can shut down their border, no governor can prohibit another state’s residents from entering their state.”

Thus, “aligning with our regional partners who have issued similar orders,” Sununu said while putting a spotlight on Massachusetts, noting how communities, families and businesses are “…closely intertwined” between the two states.

Essential businesses and nonprofits will remain open such as, “health care facilities, gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores, hardware stores, homeless shelters, food banks, animal health services, restaurants (and) breweries…,” Sununu listed during the press briefing.

Shortly after, during a Facebook Q&A, hosted live by WMUR, Sununu confirmed other businesses as essential including; liquor stores, in-home childcare, bed-and-breakfasts and inns, firearms stores and cleaning services.”

Of course, essential businesses and services are not limited to the previous items listed, but just provide as an example, officials said.

In an effort to maintain social distancing and avoid close-knit gatherings of more than 10 individuals at a time, state beaches will be closing through May 4; however, state parks will still remain open as maintaining health through exercise in open spaces is essential, Sununu said.

“These are tough decisions,” Sununu added. “But at the end of the day, we know that the worst may still be ahead of us, and I have the responsibility of doing what is right for the 1.35 million granite staters in our great state.”

Over the past 24 hours, Sununu said he has received numerous calls asking him to sign a mandatory shelter-in-place order.

The two Democrats running for governor, state Sen. Dan Feltes and Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky have both been pressuring Sununu to issue the order.

“We’ve lost precious time in the last week, but I am hopeful this action comes soon enough to still save lives. Today’s stay-at-home order and provision to provide childcare for essential workers are the right things to do. Thank you, Governor,” Volinsky said.

This is not an enforcement effort and people will not be “harassed” if they are not at home, Sununu said. People are free to go for a walk, to the grocery store, to work and essential functions, but should otherwise stay at home, Sununu said. That is especially true for people over 60 with underlying health issues.

“We are putting ourselves in a strong position with these proactive measures to slow the spread of the virus,” Sununu added.

New Hampshire reported one death and 137 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

By extending the distance learning for children who are at home until May 4 will provide parents, teachers and students the ability for longer term planning, he said.


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