Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy

$1.5 Billion In Federal Relief Headed To New Hampshire

May 11, 2021
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The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed in March is bringing at least $1.5 billion to New Hampshire.

The U.S. Treasury announced Monday that the state will receive $994.5 million. The state’s 10 counties are sharing $264 million, and five qualifying cities will split the remaining $86 million. There will be an additional $112 million coming to the state’s smaller “governmental divisions,” such as towns, villages, and water precincts, but the breakdown was not released Monday. 

N.H. Economic Roundup: Tourism, Jobs & Housing

May 11, 2021

With New Hampshire’s skyrocketing real estate market and predictions for a busy summer tourism season, we take stock of our state’s economy. Finding workers is a problem for many employers, especially in hospitality. At the same time, some sectors hit hardest by the pandemic have yet to bounce back – while others can’t fill orders fast enough. What's your view of the New Hampshire economy?

Airdate: Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Annie Ropeik/NHPR

As the warm weather continues, New Hampshire is preparing for its second summer in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. But state tourism officials say they're optimistic that this summer will be better - and safer - than last year.

Infrastructure and innovation will be the focus when it comes to spending New Hampshire’s share of the latest federal coronavirus relief act money, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

photo of sign saying please wear a mask
Daniel Barrick / NHPR

For the past year, businesses and organizations in the state have been required to follow a series of regulations aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.      

As of Friday at 11:59pm, those restrictions are being lifted, with a single voluntary set of guidelines coming into effect.

Photo of Sununu speaking at microphone
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Beginning May 7, the state will lift all restrictions on businesses and organizations aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, and will instead encourage facilities to follow a slate of recommendations.

Looking Ahead with N.H.'s Restaurant Industry

Apr 19, 2021
COURTESY/GREENLEAF

As the vaccine rollout continues and we head into warmer weather, we check in with Granite State restaurants on outdoor dining, changes to statewide mandates, and what the future holds for their businesses. 

Air date: Tuesday, April 20, 2021. 

Will You Wear A Mask Without A Statewide Mandate?

Apr 18, 2021

Will you be wearing a mask now that Governor Sununu has ended the statewide mask mandate? Many New Hampshire cities and towns, businesses and organizations say they’ll continue their own mask requirements. We look at the impact these mandates have had and gauge reaction across the state.

Airdate: Monday, April 19, 2021

Casey McDermott / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu’s surprise decision to lift New Hampshire’s statewide mask mandate this week leaves residents, businesses, local officials and health care workers with big decisions to make about their own safety and that of those around them, as COVID-19 continues to pose a risk to public health.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Virtually all statewide limits on businesses and public activities due to the pandemic will be lifted in New Hampshire within a matter of weeks, Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday.

The statewide mask mandate will expire on Friday, April 16. And on May 7, all required business restrictions – such as capacity limits and cleaning requirements – will be lifted, replaced with voluntary guidance.

N.H. Prepares To Receive Billions From Latest Federal COVID Relief Package

Apr 9, 2021
A vaccination site in Newington, New Hampshire
Dan Tuohy/NHPR

More federal money is coming into New Hampshire’s economy during this pandemic — so much that it is difficult to figure out how to spend it or, in some cases, whether the state even needs all of it.

Sign inside window of Newfields post office that says "No mask, no service, mandatory by Governor Sununu."
Annie Ropeik, NHPR

The new federal stimulus package extends the number of weeks Granite Staters can receive unemployment insurance, but confusion and frustration about the application process remain, and some people are now getting bills for overpayment. We take your questions for the Deputy Commissioner of N.H. Employment Security. Find the full audio and a transcript of the conversation below.

Air date: Thursday, April 8, 2021.

George Goslin/Public Domain

More people from out of state are buying homes in New Hampshire during the pandemic, and prices for those homes are on the rise.

MEDIAWEEK VIA FLICKR CC

New Hampshire parents who are currently collecting unemployment benefits to take care of kids during remote learning will no longer be eligible once schools fully reopen this month.

ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing / Flickr/CC

One week after its launch, about 2,100 households have applied to the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The $200 million program covers current and past due rent, as well as utility and home energy costs, including internet, and is funded through last December’s federal coronavirus relief package.

photo of Pat in her kitchen
Courtesy

The latest round of stimulus checks from the federal government are on their way to many Americans. It's the third round of direct payments since the pandemic began, and for many people, they couldn’t arrive soon enough.

We asked NHPR listeners how they plan to use the money, and received a variety of responses.

Flickr

About a year ago, as the country entered a state of emergency due to the pandemic, offices shutdown - in some cases, seemingly overnight.

Those who could transfer work to their homes, set up laptops in their dining rooms, living rooms, or areas with some amount of quiet.

For many -- although at first a necessity for safety reasons -- the change has become a preference, with some unexpected benefits, including a steep decline in commuting.

It appears more emphasis on remote work is here to stay. Some research shows productivity actually increased in certain sectors. Among the downsides: Those improvised work spaces may not be designed with ergonomics in mind, leading to physical problems. Some question whether collaborative creativity suffers. And many whose jobs could not go remote have been left behind, widening existing economic divides.

Air date: March 18, 2021

NHPR

New Hampshire is opening up its next round of assistance for rent, and utilities (including internet) at noon on Monday, March 15. We’re answering some frequently asked questions about who qualifies and the application process. What we answer here is a broad overview of the program. If you have more detailed questions, check out this FAQ from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

We're working on stories about the state's COVID housing assistance program.  Are you applying? If so, and you want to share your experience, reach out to our reporter Daniela Allee at dallee@nhpr.org.

Appreciation for essential workers.
Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Some essential workers in New Hampshire, especially those who come into contact with many people each day, say they’ve been sidelined in the vaccine distribution process.

Nathan Soucy, a waiter at Firefly American Bistro in Manchester, says he is at higher risk of contracting and spreading COVID, given the nature of his job.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Despite forecasts of massive tax shortfalls, a new report from the Urban Institute finds that most states did not see large declines in revenue due to the pandemic, including New Hampshire.

On average, states saw only a 0.4-percent decline in revenues in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to the new data. New Hampshire’s tax revenues fared slightly worse than the national average, declining by 1.7 percent in 2020. 

Updated March 10, 2021 at 3:23 PM ET

House lawmakers Wednesday gave final approval to President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, sending the legislation to his desk for his signature. The White House says Biden plans to sign it on Friday.

"This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation — the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going — a fighting chance," Biden said in a statement Wednesday.

Business open sign
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Congress is heading toward final approval of a landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

The House is on track to send the measure to President Joe Biden on Wednesday as the new president and Democrats move within reach of a triumph advancing their priorities and showcasing the unity they'll need to forge future victories.

Open house 12:30-2 p.m. sign.
Creative Commons

  For anyone looking to buy a home, or who just enjoys dream house hunting on Zillow, it’s no secret that the current housing market is extremely competitive. We talk with a realtor and a lender about what it’s like to buy, sell, or refinance a home in New Hampshire right now.

Air date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2021.

New Hampshire businesses that received financial awards through the Main Street Relief Fund and the Self-Employed Livelihood Fund programs last year are being asked to return any excess revenues. However, it isn’t clear how the state will use any of the money it recoups. 

Home in a winter storm in Portsmouth.
Emily Corwin/NHPR

The state is set to begin distributing millions of dollars in additional aid for tenants who are struggling to pay housing costs because of COVID-19. As the state finalizes new guidelines for what the assistance can be used for, and how people can apply, we check in on what we've learned from the previous housing assistance package. What have we learned about that program, and how will this shape the next year? 

This program begins March 15, and details about the program are available through the N.H. Housing Finance Authority. 

Air date: Thursday, February 25, 2021. 

N.H. Renters In Line For More Relief, Though Details Still Unclear

Feb 16, 2021
Shane Adams via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/OJ5Pe

Can New Hampshire spend $200 million in federal money to keep people in their homes when it wasn’t able to spend $20 million last year for the same purpose?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill designed to ward off lawsuits stemming from COVID exposures went before a state Senate committee Monday.

The measure's backers say it's prudent to protect businesses from lawsuits over COVID exposure, as well as local governments, schools, and religious organizations, so long as they can show they've followed state and federal COVID guidance.

ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing / Flickr/CC

The New Hampshire Circuit Court will pilot a free, voluntary mediation program to resolve eviction disputes.

Margaret Huang is the coordinator of the Office of Mediation and Arbitration.

Face mask requirement sign
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The CDC has issued an order requiring travelers to wear a mask on public transportation in the U.S., echoing an executive order by President Joe Biden shortly after he took office.

The CDC order takes effect Monday. It states passengers on airplanes, trains, buses, subways, ships, ferries, taxis and ride-shares must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth while getting on such vehicles, during the ride and while getting off.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a bill to waive sanctions against businesses cited by the state for violating COVID-19 health guidelines. The plan's backers say lifting penalties for violators, once the state of emergency ends, strikes a proper balance.

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