NH Businesses Begin to Reopen Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is taking steps to restart the state's economy in an initiative he is calling "Stay-at-Home 2.0"

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Golf courses, salons, barbershops and retail stores in New Hampshire began to reopen their doors Monday as the state cautiously loosened restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The move is the first part of Gov. Chris Sununu's plan to reopen the economy while encouraging social distancing, a process his administration has dubbed "Stay-at-Home 2.0."

Golf courses, salons, barbershops and retail stores in New Hampshire began to reopen their doors Monday as the state cautiously began to loosen restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

During his daily news briefing on Monday, Sununu said as businesses begin to reopen, they can continue to request disposable face masks through the state.

The state is requiring that retail employees wear masks at all times and that stores enforce social distancing by keeping people six feet apart.

Barbershops and hair salons that choose to open Monday must see clients by appointment and limit the number of chairs they use. Only hair cuts and colorings will be allowed and both staff and customers must wear face coverings.

Golf courses will only be allowed to open for New Hampshire residents and current club members, Sununu said last week. The use of clubhouses will be prohibited and personal equipment must be used.

"You basically go from your car to the first tee, you play the 18th hole, you go back to your car, and you go home," the governor said last week.

The next phase of New Hampshire's re-opening begins Monday, when salons, barber shops and retail stores can open up at 50% capacity..

Retail locations will only be able to operate at 50% of their maximum occupancy, employees must wear personal protective equipment and curbside and delivery methods must remain available.

The Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire opened Monday under limited business hours with social distancing protocols in place after being closed for almost two months.

Shopper Michael Mueller was among the many who lined up to hit the mall Monday morning.

"If there was a crowd, there would certainly be an issue. But there's not, so today I feel safe," he said

Other Granite State malls, all owned by Simon Property Group, also opened Monday and include the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester and the Merrimack Premium Outlets.

"My browsing need is way up," Mall of New Hampshire shopper Laurie Marino said. "They’re not very busy at all."

Sununu said Monday Simon Malls are taking necessary precautions to make sure shoppers and workers are safe by limiting capacity at their facilities. Food courts will not be open at this time.

"If there are major crowd issues, we'll deal with those," Sununu said.

Some small businesses are taking their own precautions, including staggering shifts for employees. While many small businesses are eager to open, some have concerns about safety.

An official proposal for reopening New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach from the coronavirus stay-at-home order is being prepared for Gov. Chris Sununu’s review.

Beginning May 18, restaurants can reopen but must meet strict sanitation guidelines, Sununu announced Friday. They must also screen their employees and provide them personal protective equipment. Reservations and call-ahead seating is required, the governor said.

Sununu's task force is working with other states on a regional approach to reopening beaches. As of now, the seacoast will remain closed.

"If we were to flex our beaches open, undoubtedly, we would have a huge influx from some very infected areas around Massachusetts," Sununu said last week.

There were no new deaths as a result of COVID-19 reported on Monday, according to New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan. The total number of deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, stands at 133.

Chan said the number of COVID-19 cases increased by 89 on Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 3,160.

There were two new outbreaks of the virus reported over the weekend at long-term care facilities in New Hampshire, according to Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette

At the Hillsborough County Nursing Home in Goffstown, 12 residents and 2 staff members were infected by the virus, Shibinette said. Eleven residents and three staff members at Community Resources for Justice in Manchester were infected, she said.

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