By Annie Ropeik, NHPR
Seacoast tourism and business leaders want federal officials to approve more foreign visa workers and economic aid to support what they hope will be a busy summer on the tail end of the pandemic.
They spoke at a roundtable Monday in Hampton Beach with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Raimondo, the former governor of Rhode Island, was on her first official trip as U.S. Commerce Secretary. She asked what the Seacoast wants out of the latest round of pandemic stimulus money and President Biden’s proposed jobs and infrastructure plan.
New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association CEO Mike Somers said he’s optimistic for any small tourism businesses that made it this far through the pandemic. But he said continued federal support – for visa workers and other aid – will be crucial in the next few months.
“Any way we can support our small businesses – whether it be offsetting costs they’ve incurred or other things, but just ways to help them get through,” he said. “If we can make it to July 4 week or maybe a little further, I think anybody who makes it to there, they’ve made it.”
By Nathan Graziano, Manchester InkLink
MANCHESTER, NH – When Governor Chris Sununu allowed the mask mandate in New Hampshire to expire on April 16—a decision that has drawn its share of criticism—he put in place the next step in returning to a nebulous “normal,” which will occur when all state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted on May 7.
The restrictions will be replaced by “universal best practices,” which will offer suggestions for New Hampshire businesses while giving them the option to establish their own guidelines for customers and employees.
In an interview with NHPR, Sununu cited the fact that 97 percent of New Hampshire adults who wanted to be vaccinated will have had the opportunity to receive their first shot by May 7.
By Katie Hoppler, NH Business Review
The U.S. Small Business Administration has released details about applying for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, part of the American Rescue Plan that’s designed to help restaurants and other food service-related businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
By Josie Albertson-Grove, New Hampshire Union Leader
Although Gov. Chris Sununu ended the state’s mask mandate on Friday, businesses around the state are still asking customers to wear face coverings inside.
There is no longer a state requirement to keep a mask on in public places where it is difficult to keep six feet from others, but other state guidelines still apply to businesses, at least for a few more weeks. Since Sununu announced Thursday the mask mandate would end, businesses have put out gentle reminders that their rules have not changed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends wearing masks when not actively eating or drinking at a restaurant, and Catholic Medical Center in Manchester encouraged people to keep wearing masks in public for the health of all, though it is no longer a state mandate.
Restaurant and breweries note in messages to customers on Facebook that masks are still needed when someone is not seated. Cooks and servers will also keep wearing masks for the time being.
By Bob Sanders, NH Business Review
A group of 23 hotels – including four in New Hampshire – is suing their insurance companies, claiming that they were refused coverage for their pandemic losses even though they were not excluded by their coverage.
The group, led by New Hampshire-based Schleicher and Stebbins Hotels (S&S), a hotel management company, filed the suit in June in Merrimack County Superior Court. The first hearing was held on the matter last Thursday in what promises to be lengthy litigation.
Daymond Steer, Conway Daily Sun
CONCORD -- Gov. Chris Sununu told The Washington Post in a Tuesday interview he predicts the summer season in New Hampshire will look more like 2019 than 2020 thanks to a swift rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sununu was speaking to Post columnist Karen Tumulty about his reopening plans as part of the Post's "Leadership During a Crisis" online series.
The Post credited Sununu with, among other things, "swiftly" expanding unemployment benefits, securing tens of millions of personal protective equipment and creating a system to oversee the "fair and transparent disbursement" of $1.25 billion in CARES Act money.