Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday that New Hampshire is flexing some of its coronavirus restrictions, including allowing retail stores to once again operate at full capacity and no longer requiring quarantine for travelers arriving in the state.
Effective immediately, domestic travelers will be still be recommended to quarantine upon arriving in New Hampshire, but it's not required, Sununu said.
Other restrictions being modified are those for barber shops and salons (walk-ins and waiting rooms are being allowed), restaurants and bars (small bands and bar games are being allowed) and camps, Sununu said at an update on COVID-19 and New Hampshire's vaccination rollout in Concord.
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The mask mandate, however, is not being lifted, Sununu said: "It has proven to be effective. Masks work."
Sununu said the state's website would be updated with the new guidance.
He also debuted the state's new vaccine appointment registration system, called the Vaccine and Immunization Network Interface (VINI). It will debut on Wednesday, March 17, when some of the people covered in the next phase of New Hampshire's COVID vaccine rollout can start signing up.
Covering workers in school settings, Phase 2a kicks off Friday, with regional public health networks working in partnership with school officials to organize and schedule vaccination clinics to administer first doses in closed pods. Then on March 17, registration through state-run sites will open for members of Phase 2a who don't work in places where those clinics are possible. Their appointments will begin on March 22.
People in Phase 2b, New Hampshire residents aged 50 to 64, can start registering for appointments on March 22. Appointments for that group will begin March 25.
The state-run clinic part of Phase 2a and Phase 2b will open through VINI, which asks basic screening questions for eligibility before showing available appointments in the user's area.
Sununu guessed that his own group, people under 50, will be able to sign up for vaccines -- through VINI -- by May.
Those phases are being given the vaccine earlier than anticipated, Sununu said last week, because the rollout for Phase 1 was faster than anticipated, with everyone in that group who had wanted their vaccination to be done before April successfully moved up.
The state hosted an appointment-only mass vaccination site at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon last weekend. Sununu said Thursday that more than 11,000 people were vaccinated at the event.