Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy

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.

President Biden will reimpose a ban on many non-U.S. citizens attempting to enter the country. The move is an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 and contain new variants of the disease that have cropped up in several countries around the globe, according to media reports Sunday.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office has released new recommendations for grocery stores and retailers on encouraging mask wearing among customers, after some businesses reported employees were uncomfortable enforcing state guidance.

A New Year's Economic Forecast

Dec 31, 2020
Patrick Patterson places the open flag out in front of the Portsmouth Brewery on April 1, 2020.
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

We look ahead to what 2021 might bring for both New Hampshire's and the national economy. That includes how sectors hit hardest by the pandemic might recover and what's included in Congress's most recent relief package. 

Air date: Monday, January 4, 2021. 

Shane Adams via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/OJ5Pe

New Hampshire will receive $200 million for emergency rental assistance as part of the federal government’s new COVID-19 relief bill

Eligible renters will receive assistance to pay for rent and utility payments, and any unpaid utility bills or rent. 

Wikimedia Commons

An estimated $2 billion is headed to New Hampshire for COVID-related relief efforts. The money comes from the emergency coronavirus relief package that President Trump signed into law Sunday. 

Here’s how some of that money will be spent:

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Sunday night signed a massive coronavirus relief and spending package, relenting on a measure he had called a "disgrace" days earlier.

The legislation, which combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with government funding through September 2021, was passed by large majorities in both chambers of Congress on Dec. 21 — only to see Trump blindside legislators the next day and blast the bill.

In a statement Sunday night, Trump said lawmakers will pursue some of his sought-after changes.

Updated Sunday at 8:23 a.m. ET

Jobless benefits that were expanded for millions of Americans earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic ran out on Saturday, as President Trump renewed his criticism of a recently passed $900 billion relief package that includes an extension of federal unemployment assistance.

Courtesy

Geoff Pendexter took a risk this holiday shopping season, ordering a normal amount of inventory for Whirlygigs, his toy shop in Exeter. With Christmas fast approaching, that gamble appears to have paid off.

“It’s kind of surprising to me because we are doing better than last year, which I wasn’t expecting,” says Pendexter.

courtesy photo

NHPR is checking back in with Granite Staters to see how they're holding up as 2020 comes to a close. It's part of a series we're calling Hindsight.

Picture of Massachusetts Welcome Sign
Jimmy Emerson, DMV/Flick Creative Commons

The Attorney General of Massachusetts is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decline a petition filed by the State of New Hampshire over cross-border income tax collections during the pandemic.

In October, New Hampshire filed a lawsuit alleging a temporary tax regulation enacted by its neighboring state during the pandemic violated New Hampshire’s sovereignty.

Daniela Allee, NHPR

The Nashua Board of Health is recommending the city impose a curfew in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The 9:30 pm curfew would prohibit indoor activities at businesses including bars, restaurants and clubs. Takeout would be allowed to continue.

Nashua City Hall
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The city of Nashua is weighing a potential 9:30 p.m. curfew as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Hampshire continue to surge.

At a Board of Health meeting Wednesday, city officials said the current recommendations like mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing are no longer enough to slow the spread of the virus.

As the coronavirus pandemic began ravaging the economy last spring, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), one of the landmark pieces of COVID-19 stimulus efforts intended to get cash to businesses quickly. Until this month, the federal government shared only limited information about the companies receiving those loans. But thanks to a coalition of news organizations who sued the government to gain access to the data, we now have a fuller picture of where the money went — in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Many of the federal emergency aid programs implemented earlier this year in response to the pandemic are due to expire at the end of December. New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has been among those working on a compromise plan to extend relief into 2021.

File Photo, NHPR

While many retailers are doing Black Friday a little differently this year, that didn't stop many from doing their holiday shopping in person.

At the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, it looked like almost any other Black Friday, with some parking lots nearly filled, and plenty of out-of-state license plates.

Daniel Barrick / NHPR

A Plaistow restaurant is being fined $1,500 for repeatedly failing to comply with the state's coronavirus  guidelines.

N.H. attorney general's office
Ali Oshinskie for NHPR

The state Attorney General's office has fined three New Hampshire food establishments for violating coronavirus emergency orders. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Restaurants across New Hampshire have struggled this pandemic year, with shutdowns, phased re-openings, and now a double whammy of winter and rising COVID-19 infections. We talk with local restaurant owners about the many challenges they've faced, how they've innovated to stay afloat, and what they hope happens next. 

Air date: Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. 

Photo showing inside of empty music call
Courtesy of Tupelo Music Hall

The state is awarding $11.5 million to live music venues, stadiums and theaters as they face financial losses and an uncertain winter of cancelled and limited performances due to the pandemic.

For months, Stephen Ordway had March 13 circled on his calendar.

That was opening day for Dos Mexican Eats, his new restaurant in Dover, N.H.

Then eight short days after selling his first burrito, the pandemic forced Ordway to close down.

"It was terrible," Ordway said. "That's an understatement."

Like millions of Americans who lost their source of income due to COVID-19, Ordway filed for unemployment benefits this year. The payments — roughly $750 a week — served as a financial lifeline for the new business owner.

Dan Tuohy

Restaurants in New Hampshire began collecting customers' names, phone numbers and times of arrival this weekend as part of a new policy to aid the state in contact tracing.

File Photo, NHPR

Vermont has updated its state quarantine rules, and now includes every New Hampshire county among areas with travel restrictions.

Vermont requires a quarantine for travelers to and from any county with over 400 COVID-19 cases per million. Counties with 400-799 cases are coded "yellow," and those with more than 800 cases are "red." 

The Saalt/Libby's Bistro

The restaurant industry is preparing for a tough winter season as dining begins to move back inside.

In Portsmouth, at least six restaurants have reported positive cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks as cases and hospitalizations across the state continue to rise, many connected to small gatherings. City officials recently extended their support for outdoor dining through the end of November, in an attempt to reduce community spread within restaurants.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The state's emergency relief program is making an effort to close equity gaps for New Hampshire small businesses with a new round of CARES Act funding.

Gov. Chris Sununu said at a press conference Thursday that the Governor's Office For Emergency Relief and Recovery is working alongside groups like the COVID-19 Equity Response Team toward ensuring equal access to $100 million in Main Street relief funds that were released last week.

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