NH Taking ‘Wait and See Approach' to Reopening Its Beaches

The state reported eight more coronavirus deaths and 63 new cases on Wednesday

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Gov. Chris Sununu said Wednesday that he's taking a "wait and see approach" to reopening New Hampshire's beaches.

Some beaches and parks in Maine have already begun to reopen. But Sununu said he's in no rush to open beaches in the Granite State.

"Right now it's a wait and see approach," he said. "With Maine and Massachusetts you have different cities and towns that have a lot of say over their beaches. We'll wait to see kind of what happens with those."

"It's May 13th," he added. "It snowed a few days ago. There isn't a mad rush to the beaches right now, which is good news because it allows us to see how their model plays out, how they handle parking, crowd control... They're kind of opening the door saying 'What's going to happen?' We get to see what's going to happen."

New Hampshire reported eight more coronavirus deaths and 63 new cases on Wednesday as efforts to reopen the state's economy continue.

Retail stores, hair salons and golf courses were allowed to reopen this week and restaurants are set to follow on Monday for outdoor seating only. But Sununu said the state needs to be cautious as it proceeds with its reopening plan.

"We can't open everything up that we'd like to," he said. "Everyone wants everything to open tomorrow. That would be horribly irresponsible."

Despite the difficulty of remote learning, a New Hampshire school district will not be ending their academic year early even though others have opted to do so.

Sununu said there will undoubtedly be more COVID-19 cases and fatalities. The key is how the state's health care system manages them.

"We've got a long way to go," the governor said. "Are we going to see other surges? Yes, I think we will. It would be naive to think there is not another surge coming down the road, whether it be this summer, in the fall, or the winter."

A panel tasked with reopening New Hampshire’s economy amid the easing threat from the coronavirus pandemic agreed Tuesday on proposals for seven sectors, among them lodging, outdoor attractions and gyms.

The recommendations won’t be final until public health officials and Sununu give their OK.

New Hampshire businesses begin to reopen per Governor Chris Sununu's plan to restart the economy.

The task force unanimously recommended that hotels be limited to half their capacity, though the limit would not apply to motels with outdoor access to rooms or to inns and bed-and-breakfasts with 10 or fewer rooms.

Face masks would be required for staffers and are recommended for guests, who would be asked at check-in about any possible exposure to the coronavirus.

A reopening date of May 22 is recommended for lodging, but target dates for other sectors were not included.

On attractions, the guidance covers activities in “recreational and natural settings,” including biking, canoe and kayak rentals, mini-golf, driving ranges, shooting ranges, and racetracks.

Also included are small group tours such those offered at Lost River Gorge and the Polar Caves, but task force members said amusement parks, water parks and indoor attractions would be addressed later.

Outdoor attractions would be limited to half their capacity, or to the number social distancing guidelines can accommodate, whichever is less. The requirement would be the same for gyms and fitness clubs, which also would be prohibited from enrolling out-of-state residents as new members.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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