Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy

Todd Bookman, NHPR

In early May, as New Hampshire officials began to lift restrictions on some corners of the economy, Gov. Chris Sununu announced that the state would distribute its stockpile of disposable masks to businesses and nonprofits for free.

Now, thanks to newly provided public records, we can see where those masks ended up — and which businesses were the biggest beneficiaries.

A federal fisheries management agency has barred some of its employees from making formal references to the COVID-19 pandemic without preapproval from leadership, according to an internal agency document.

Courtesy of Camp Hale / United South End Settlements & Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Ninety-five percent of New Hampshire sleepaway camps will remain closed this summer.

The governor’s guidelines for reopening allow overnight camps to reopen this Monday, June 29.

But Ken Robbins, president of the New Hampshire Camp Directors Association, says late notice and strict guidelines have forced most camps to stay closed.

Genevieve Andress for NHPR

What happens when a restaurant doesn’t follow social distancing guidelines? Or when restaurant employees who interact with customers don’t wear their required face masks?

Violations of coronavirus guidelines usually end up in the hands of the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office by way of the phone number and email established for concerns regarding executive orders and guidelines.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Seacoast beaches have been crowded this weekend with people trying to beat the heat, though some coronavirus restrictions remain in effect. Parts of the shoulders of Route 1A have reopened for parking, but the state beach lots are only accepting 50 percent of their normal capacity to encourage physical distancing.

Flickr/Diana Parkhouse

Homes would be selling briskly in New Hampshire if there was anything to sell. It’s a lack of inventory, inventory, inventory.

This article is being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org

Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons

The state’s official stay-at-home order expired at midnight. 

Nearly every corner of the New Hampshire economy, from bowling alleys to libraries to museums, has been given the greenlight to reopen.

But normal remains a long way off,  as new unemployment numbers show that 100,000 residents remain unemployed following a months-long mandated shutdown.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Stock prices rebounded Friday, one day after a punishing drop triggered by fears that the coronavirus cases are increasing in the Sunbelt.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 477 points, a gain of 1.9%. The broader S&P 500 index climbed 1.3%.

A day earlier, the Dow lost 1,861 points, or about 7%, and the S&P 500 dove nearly 6%.

Screenshot

New Hampshire Senate Democrats are backing a proposal that would increase unemployment benefits and make it easier for certain out of work residents to access those benefits moving forward. 

The pain in the job market continues as an additional 1.5 million sought jobless benefits for the first time last week, down 355,000 from the prior week. Continued claims fell by 339,000 to 20.9 million, a sign that more people are returning to work as the economy reopens after pandemic lockdowns.

More than 44 million first-time claims have been filed in the past 12 weeks.

Conducting the 2020 Census During A Pandemic

Jun 10, 2020
Sara Plourde, NHPR

We discuss the 2020 census, with all its implications for political districts, federal funding, and community services. Even with the coronavirus pandemic, the census is still taking place, although some information will be gathered differently this year. We chat about how the census will be conducted and its impact on our nation. 

Air date: Thursday, June 11, 2020. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A New London salon owner suing the governor over allegations that he exceeded his constituional authority when he extended a State of Emergency order due to the coronavirus pandemic appeared in court on Tuesday.

N.H. Restaurants Get Creative To Survive Pandemic

Jun 7, 2020
courtesy/Greenleaf

New Hampshire restaurants have been hard hit during the coronavirus pandemic, changing their business model to curbside pickup and delivery, then pivoting to limited outdoor dining and soon, anticipating returning to limited indoor dining. We talk with restaurant owners from across the state about how they have responded to the challenge and how long they can sustain this way of doing business. We also discuss how they plan to keep customers, servers and kitchen staff safe as they return.

Airdate: Monday, June 8, 2020

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

Advocates are calling on New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to support job training for clean energy projects as part of COVID-19 economic recovery.

Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas joined state nonprofits for a roundtable on the issue Friday.

The lawmakers and their Senate colleagues have joined recent calls for renewable energy investment in upcoming stimulus bills. 

Chris Spielmann/Wikimedia Commons

Starting June 15, restaurants in New Hampshire will be allowed to resume indoor dining service, though restrictions remain in place due to the ongoing risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

According to new guidance issued by Gov. Chris Sununu, restaurants in the northern and western part of the state can resume indoor service as long as tables are spaced six feet apart. 

N.H. Main Street Relief Fund Details Still Being Worked On

Jun 5, 2020
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Editor's Note: These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

New Hampshire businesses should “soon” be able to get some assistance through the newly established $400 million Main Street Relief Fund, but it’s not clear how soon.

Some 13,000 Granite State businesses filled out pre-applications by the May 29 deadline in order to be eligible for grants that would cover some of their losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Courtesy of Enna Grazier

 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us do our jobs, including those of us here at NHPR.

Our reporters haven't been able to get out and record your voices as much as usual. So, we've asked people to step in for us - to record their own lives and share how daily life has been interrupted in big and small ways.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: June 5, 2020

Jun 4, 2020

Black Lives Matter holds protests against racial injustice and vigils across the state in memory of those who lost their lives. After more than two months of roped off parking and patrolled sand, New Hampshire’s beaches reopen with some caveats. We discuss Nashua's emergency public health ordinance requiring masks. And he state has begun the process to allow Granite Staters to register by mail to vote in this fall’s elections and making it easier to vote absentee.

Roger Stephenson (courtesy)

Federal regulators expect to return to more frequent inspections at Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant as New Hampshire reopens its economy.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission held the plant’s annual safety meeting by phone Wednesday.

Brice Bickett, the NRC’s regional branch chief for reactor projects, says inspectors should be on-site more often in the coming weeks than they have been since March.

“We’ll have more increased presence likely as early as next week,” he says. “But a lot of that remains subject to, as long as conditions don’t change.”

Donna Hiltz / NHPR

Members of Congress from New Hampshire are joining a call for clean energy workforce investment as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen joined nearly 60 other Democrats, led by lawmakers from New York and New Mexico, who sent a letter on the issue to Congressional leadership this week.

The letter cites research showing the clean energy sector could lose nearly a quarter of its jobs to the pandemic in the near term.

ALLEGRA BOVERMAN FOR NHPR

We sit down with Congressman Chris Pappas, a Democrat representing the state's 1st District. We catch up on the congressional response to the coronavirus pandemic, in terms of public health and the economy, and hear his response to the racial injustice protests here in New Hampshire.

Air date: Thursday, June 4, 2020. 

Updated at 9:38 a.m. ET

More than 1 in 4 U.S. workers have lost their jobs since the coronavirus crisis shut down much of the economy in March.

Just last week, another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's down 323,000 from the previous week but brings the total for the past 10 weeks to 40.8 million, which represents 26% of the civilian labor force in April.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state’s top tax official says the coronavirus pandemic could cut state coffers by more than $450 million through the middle of next year.

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State revenue commissioner Lindsey Stepp told lawmakers her department’s latest revenue estimates don’t presume a second wave of the coronavirus. She also stressed the challenges of modeling tax collections under the circumstances.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

While most of the state's businesses appear to be adhering to emergency orders issued by Gov. Chris Sununu designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, more entities are openly violating the guidelines as the pandemic drags into warmer weather.

Related: What's open and what's not open in New Hampshire?

DodgertonSkillhause / Morguefile

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted concerns about health—and not just physical health. Financial health is also a major concern for many NHPR listeners.

Subscribe to our COVID-19 newsletter for the latest updates from NHPR.

People visiting Six Flags theme parks and water parks this summer will be required to wear face masks at all times, the company said, as it prepares to reopen its first park to visitors since the coronavirus forced mass closures. Six Flags said it also will use thermal imaging to screen temperatures of guests and employees before they can enter.

photon_de via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/57BSet

With more time at home, many New Hampshire residents are taking up gardening. But some gardening supplies are in short supply.

Dave Short, owner of the Stratham Circle Nursery, says his business is booming.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and haven’t seen anything like this,” Short says.

He says the demand for plants is up in every category, in particular, edible plants like fruits and vegetables. He thinks people have a survivalist mentality right now.

Retailers across the apparel world are turning to the newest essential garment to further their brand recognition and boost sales: the nonmedical face mask.

Nordstrom announced Tuesday it would begin selling face masks for $4 each in packs of six. The move comes just weeks after the Seattle-based retailer announced it would permanently shutter 16 stores after the coronavirus pandemic forced all of its locations to close.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

All Seacoast beaches could soon be reopened for walking, running, swimming and surfing under a plan delivered Thursday to Gov. Chris Sununu.

A state task force voted in support of the phased-in approach, which could begin June 1 with Sununu's approval.

Macy's losses during the coronavirus pandemic might mount to $1.1 billion in its first quarter. The company's warning Thursday is the latest highlight of a widening gap in retail between big sales of "essential" stores that remained open during the health crisis versus clothing and other "nonessential stores" that had to close.

The preliminary earnings report from Macy's echoed the pain felt at many other department stores and retail chains revealed in the first wave of financial disclosures since the pandemic began.

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