New Hampshire could reopen its beaches in the coming months, but any plan to do so will likely include input from Maine and Massachusetts, Granite State Governor Chris Sununu’s office said Tuesday.
Sununu’s spokesman, Benjamin Vihstadt, said in an e-mail that the governor is “working with all stakeholders to formulate a potential plan as to how state beaches, along with other industries, could open in a phased approach in a safe and responsible manner in the coming months.”
Vihstadt said that as with all matters, “public health must come first, and it is highly unlikely that the state would open its beaches without a regional plan that also includes Maine and Massachusetts.”
Like other governors across the region and nation, Sununu has enacted sweeping measures including shuttering schools and non-essential businesses to combat the spread of the virus, which as of Monday had infected 1,447 New Hampshire residents and claimed the lives of 42, according to statistics posted to the state website. The site said 521 residents have recovered from the virus.
In late March, in addition to closing in-person operations of nonessential businesses and advising New Hampshire residents to stay home except for necessities, Sununu announced that all state beaches along the seacoast would be forced to close.
“Beyond the essential necessities, you should not be leaving your home,” Sununu said at the time. “These are tough decisions. They really are. But at the end of the day, we know the worst may be ahead of us.”
Among the New Hampshire beaches that have closed amid the pandemic is Hampton Beach, a popular tourist destination for New Englanders.
A live “Beach Cam” on the Hampton Beach website Tuesday morning showed virtually empty parking lots, an empty playground, and deserted boardwalk.
Sununu is slated to brief reporters on the state’s COVID-19 response at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.