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New Hampshire orders nonessential businesses to close

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu toured a makeshift medical facility on a basketball court in a gymnasium at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s governor on Thursday announced a series of measures to further tackle the coronavirus outbreak, including requiring nonessential businesses to close and telling residents to stay home.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu joined several other New England states in ordering in-person operations of nonessential businesses to close and telling New Hampshire’s residents to stay home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Sununu said all businesses not exempted by the order must suspend all in-person business operations by at midnight on Friday. Grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores, liquor stores, health care facilities, restaurants, news media, manufacturers and even breweries are exempt. Construction will also be allowed to continue.


Sununu, who was under pressure from Democrats to take tougher action, was careful to say the order was only an effort to align policies put in place by nearby states like Massachusetts.

“This is not a shelter-in-place,” Sununu said. “We are not closing down transportation. We are not closing our borders and no one will be prevented from leaving their home. ... While the spread of COVID-19 has not reached the level of other nearby states, we are putting ourselves in a strong position with these proactive measures to slow the spread of the virus.”

Sununu also announced that all state beaches along the seacoast would be forced to close at midnight Friday and an earlier order requiring schools to provide remote learning would be extended to May 4.

“Beyond the essential necessities, you should not be leaving your home,” Sununu said. “These are tough decisions. They really are. But at the end of the day, we know the worst may be ahead of us."