Two days after New Hampshire's stay-at-home advisory expired and parts of the economy have reopened, Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday thousands of small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will begin receiving grants.
As part of the federal CARES Act, $400 million was allocated to New Hampshire's Main Street Relief Fund. The funds will allow businesses to pay their bills, mortgages and taxes while providing "simple, fast, fair relief dollars."
Sununu said Tuesday that 5,466 applications have been approved with an average grant of $61,905. Those who qualified will be receiving an email and payment within the next week, Sununu said.
The governor said some businesses didn't finish completing their applications and the state will be reaching out to them to see if they can assist.
Another 4,742 self-employed applied even though they weren't qualified. The state is going to try and come up with another grant to financially help those individuals.
The stay-at-home advisory expired on Monday and New Hampshire moved to a "safer at home" advisory with no social gathering limitations or distinctions between essential and nonessential businesses.
"We feel very confident in taking some additional steps forward," Sununu said on Thursday.
Under the new advisory, people are still encouraged to practice social distancing and wear masks in public.
More on the Coronavirus in New Hampshire
Sununu also said a number of businesses would be able to open or expand under strengthened guidance and capacity limitations as of Monday, such as gyms, bowling alleys, tourist train and racetracks. Also added to the list are charitable gaming facilities, museums, and libraries.
The new order also means several sectors of the economy will be allowed to reopen on June 29 with limitations: indoor movie theaters, performing arts centers and amusement parks. Guidance for those industries is expected to be released sometime this week.
As of Tuesday, 326 people have died in New Hampshire as a result of the new coronavirus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. There were 5,364 positive cases.
State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said the decreasing numbers show that community spread for the coronavirus is decreasing but that doesn't mean the state isn't at risk for new outbreaks.
Beginning sometime this weekend, approved New Hampshire nursing homes will be allowed to accept visitors by appointment only, according to health officials. The no-contact visits will be limited to outdoors and no more than two people will be allowed. Visitors under the age of 12 will not be allowed.