By: Kevin Landrigan, New Hampshire Union Leader
CONCORD -- Hours after the hospitality industry requested it, Gov. Chris Sununu approved a requirement that restaurants keep a temporary database of diners to more quickly contain cases of COVID-19 linked to a business.
Starting Saturday, all restaurants must get and keep on file the name and telephone number of at least one person in each dining party.
The information must also note the table or bar seats the group used, the server or bartender’s name and the date and time they were in the restaurant.
The restaurant must keep the information for at least three weeks.
The New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association came up with the proposal after the state Division of Public Health Services alerted the public to cases of COVID-19 at five different restaurants last Friday.
State officials said the alert was issued because they could not be sure of being able to reach everyone who might have come in contact with a person who came down with COVID-19.
“I don’t think the restaurant association is asking for anything outside the norm,” Sununu said Thursday. “We are just trying to make it simple for folks. I agree with this recommendation. I think it’s a good idea.”
Earlier Thursday, NHLRA CEO and President Mike Somers presented the concept to the Economic Reopening Task Force, which moments later unanimously endorsed it.
The public alerts about cases of COVID-19 linked to a restaurant can be ineffective, he said, calling them “very shotgun blast in nature and not very surgical.”
Most New England states already have adopted this database requirement, which has proven effective, the governor said.
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