New Hampshire will be under a stay-at-home order Friday through May 4, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday. The closure of the state's schools is being extended through May 4 as well.
The orders align New Hampshire with nearby Massachusetts.
"This is not a shelter-in-place, we are not closing down transportation, we are not closing our borders and I am not preventing people from leaving their homes," Sununu said at a news conference.
Non-essential businesses will be directed to stop in-person work as well, beginning midnight on Friday, March 27, Sununu said. He gave a list of essential businesses, including health care, grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores and more.
Sununu is closing the state's seacoast beaches as well, in an attempt to prevent people from congregating there as the weather gets better. Sununu did note that New Hampshire residents are doing a good job of social distancing.
State health officials raised the state's tally of coronavirus cases Thursday afternoon to 158, an increase of 21 from the day before. One person has died from the virus in the state.
Sununu acknowledged the difficulties that the stay-at-home order will pose state residents, especially for the people who work at businesses now being closed. He also said that this could be the reality for weeks beyond May 4 -- it's not clear when New Hampshire will see a surge in cases, but these efforts are an attempt to mitigate it.
"We need stamina, we're going to be in this for a while," Sununu said.
He has been saying for days that New Hampshire may not see its peak number of cases for several weeks. On Tuesday he asked residents to help in any way they can.
Also Thursday, Sununu said his administration was launching a public-private partnership to provide child care for the families of essential workers.