With 17 cases of COVID-19 now in New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu is announcing new guidelines in the state that include restaurant takeout and delivery only and bans of public gatherings of 50 people or more.
"Knowing neighboring states have closed restaurants and bars has caused New Hampshire to evaluate those states actions and their impact on New Hampshire's population risk profile," Sununu said. "This action will help slow the spread of this virus in New Hampshire. We do not take this decision lightly."
The order impact both restaurants and public gatherings is to remain in effect until April 7.
Schools in New Hampshire are closed, courts are significantly scaling back and elective medical procedures are being delayed in an effort to contain the coronavirus.
Here's a look at how the spread of the coronavirus is affecting the Granite State:
As of Monday afternoon, 17 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Health officials have said they believe all of the state's cases were infected via international travel, domestic travel or close contact with another patient.
None of them have been hospitalized. For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough, and the vast majority recover.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. People with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover, according to the World Health Organization.
STATEWIDE SCHOOL CLOSURES
Sununu issued an order Sunday closing K-12 public schools until April 3. The order gives districts until March 23 to begin offering remote instruction.
The governor said he will issue directives to make sure parents who need to miss work to care for children would be able to access state unemployment benefits. He also said the state would expand access to childcare.
New Hampshire’s circuit, superior and supreme courts will remain open on a restricted basis through April 6, with nearly all in-person proceedings halted.
Exceptions include bail-related matters and plea agreements; requests for protection orders and hearings in domestic violence and juvenile abuse cases; and emergency proceedings, including those related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
In-court proceedings are limited to attorneys, parties, security officers and other necessary people as determined by judges.
MEDICAL PROCEDURES POSTPONED
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health began delaying some elective procedures Monday in an effort to focus on preserving critical supplies and equipment as the virus spreads.
The health system includes Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, several affiliated smaller hospitals and two dozen clinics across New Hampshire and Vermont. Providers have begun contacting patients whose procedures will be delayed.
The new policy does not affect doctor's appointments, well visits, urgent care or emergency procedures. Those who don't receive calls should arrive as scheduled for procedures.
On Monday, state officials offered guidance to city councils, boards of selectman, zoning boards and other groups trying to figure out how to continue their work while minimizing the spread of the new coronavirus.
Gov. Chris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald sent a memo to municipal officials and others about the state law requiring such groups to hold their meetings in public. They said in the event of an emergency, a board may meet electronically, but it must still give the public 24 hours notice. Such meetings must also provide public access, which could include providing a call-in number for meetings conducted by phone.