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NH restaurants boost capacity indoors

Published: 8/21/2020 10:41:17 PM
Modified: 8/21/2020 10:42:08 PM

New Hampshire restaurants statewide can resume indoor dining at full capacity, Gov. Chris Sununu said Friday.

Restaurants have been allowed to serve customers indoors since June 15, but those in Rockingham, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Strafford counties have been limited to 50% capacity because the majority of the state’s COVID-19 cases have occurred there and because of their proximity to the Massachusetts border. But restaurant owners have been urging the state to relax the restrictions as the end of summer nears.

“We’re coming into the fall months, and outdoor seating is not going to be as possible as it was over the summer,” Sununu said. “So effective immediately, we’ll have 100 percent capacity in restaurants that choose to do so.”

Restrictions remain related to the distance between tables, face mask requirements and limits on bar service.

Vermont case numbersincrease with new testingof college students

Vermont reported four new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, for a statewide total since the pandemic began of 1,541. The total number of deaths remained at 58. Three people were hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

This week, Vermont reported 61 new coronavirus cases, up from 39 new cases last week.

“We did have a considerable influx of college students start to arrive and when you look at our testing numbers the tests conducted over the last seven days were the greatest number of tests we’ve conducted since the start of the pandemic,” said Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, who is managing Vermont’s COVID-19 data.

About a dozen college students have tested positive this month, said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

“This is expected as new students are arriving and campuses have increased testing efforts,” he said, adding that there was no ongoing transmission on any campus.

As of Friday, Vermont had the lowest positivity rate in the country and continues to have the lowest case count per capita from the start of the pandemic and in the last seven days, Pieciak said.

NH case numbers

As of Friday, 7,071 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 21 from the previous day. The number of deaths stood 428. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire decreased over the past two weeks from 29 new cases per day on Aug. 6 to 18 new cases per day on Aug. 20.

NH, Massachusetts face off on income tax

An emergency tax rule in Massachusetts is undermining both public health and New Hampshire’s sovereignty during the coronavirus pandemic, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said Friday.

MacDonald wrote to the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue ahead of a public hearing next week on a July 21 rule that subjects New Hampshire residents who were working in Massachusetts before the pandemic to Massachusetts’ income tax while they work from home.

Previously, New Hampshire residents were only taxed for days spent in Massachusetts, and the regulation has raised strong objects in New Hampshire, one of nine states without an income tax. Beyond the harm to individuals, MacDonald said the regulation is at odds with efforts to protect public health, including a drastic increase in remote working.

“This increase is not a matter of convenience, but rather a concerted civic effort,” he said. “The Emergency Income Tax Rule undermines that effort by imposing a retroactive, extraterritorial income tax on individuals who are doing their civic duty to protect the broader public health at a time when they can least afford an unexpected new cost.”

He also said the rule raises significant legal concerns and is “incompatible with New Hampshire’s unique sovereign policy choices.”

“New Hampshire’s rejection of an individual earned income tax has been longstanding, consistent, express, clear and bipartisan,” he sa id.

— Associated Press

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