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New Hampshire, Vermont slowly rolling out plans to reopen economy

The Associated Press
Published: 5/1/2020 9:21:53 PM
Modified: 5/1/2020 9:21:44 PM

The governors of New Hampshire and Vermont on Friday announced phased-in measures to reopen their state’s economies over the next month.

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

New Hampshire 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% 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.

Granite State 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% capacity, and hair salons will not be allowed to offer services beyond basic cut and color.

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.

In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott announced new gradual steps Friday to reopen the pandemic-stricken economy by expanding the number of employees allowed to work at a manufacturing, construction or distribution business from five to 10 if the workers follow safety requirements.

“I’m pleased to say we’re able to get thousands more Vermonters back to work starting Monday,” Scott said.

The workers must stay 6 feet apart and be screened, including for their body temperature, at the start of their shift, and wear cloth face coverings around others.

Those businesses may expand to full operation May 11 if they comply with “additional, stringent” requirements, Scott said at his news briefing.

But he warned that the state, which has seen relatively few cases of the coronavirus, “can’t declare victory yet,” must remain vigilant and must recognize that other states nearby are still dealing with massive outbreaks.

Scott also announced Friday a new requirement that public transit employees and customers must wear cloth masks.

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