New Hampshire

Mask Mandate Will Apply to Trump's NH Rally

The president is scheduled to speak Friday evening from the PeriCohas Hangar in Manchester

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With President Donald Trump heading to New Hampshire Friday for a post-convention campaign rally, Gov. Chris Sununu said he planned to greet him at the airport but was not going to the event amid concerns over the coronavirus.

"When I can, I try to avoid large crowds," he said Tuesday during a news conference.

Sununu said his mask mandate for crowds of 100 or more will apply to Trump's rally.

"We don't pick winners or losers. We treat everyone the same," Sununu said. "That's the most important thing."

The governor said the Trump campaign will have masks and hand sanitizer and they understand social distancing guidelines.

Trump is scheduled to speak from the PeriCohas Hangar in Manchester. The 6 p.m. event will be the president's first after the Republican National Convention.

During Tuesday's news conference, Sununu also announced a few initiatives to help New Hampshire residents amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He discussed the federal government approving the state's participation in the Lost Wages Assistance Program, which provides an extra $300 per week to unemployed workers.

"In total, we expect our participation to pump over $300 million into the state's economy — at little cost to the state," Sununu said.

The approval will be on top of regular unemployment benefits and will be retroactive to Aug. 1.

"In addition to the new $300 dollar benefit, I am increasing the minimum weekly state unemployment benefit to $100 a week so that all unemployed Granite Staters will be eligible for the new $300 benefit from the federal government, Sununu said.

The governor said payments will be issued in early September.

Community Action Agencies in New Hampshire have launched a new streamlined application for Granite Staters seeking housing relief, the governor said. The application is much shorter than the previous one and enables residents to find assistance while ensuring funds are used for COVID-19 related relief.

Sununu also talked about the expansion of New Hampshire's broadband program, which aims to help students remotely learning and residents working from home.

There were 16 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus and no new deaths reported on Tuesday in New Hampshire, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The number of cases is now 7,150 while the death toll stands at 429.

"We continue to see good trends in our numbers," state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said.

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