Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy

In its 118-year history, J.C. Penney has gone from a Wyoming-based dry-goods store to being a key pillar of the American mall.

Jon Greenberg, NHPR

Planet Fitness is facing a potential class action lawsuit filed by a member who alleges the New Hampshire-based gym chain charged membership fees despite the facilities closing their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET

In a historic collapse, retail spending in the United States nosedived again last month, dropping a record 16.4% as people avoided restaurants, bars, stores and malls during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sean Hurley

The 31st Market Basket in the state is set to open tomorrow in Plymouth. NHPR’s Sean Hurley visited the grocery store today to find out just how grand – or not - the grand opening might be.

Marie Alderink and her husband Elroy peer through the just washed windows of the new grocery store. The Hebron couple thought today was opening day.

Pete Nakos/NHPR

On May 4, members of Anytime Fitness, a West Lebanon gym, received an unexpected email.

“We are so excited to share with you that our doors are now OPEN,” it read. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: May 15, 2020

May 14, 2020

As some sectors of the economy begin to reopen, we’ll speak with Taylor Caswell, Commissioner of the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs. We'll talk about what types of regulations and safety measures are in place for businesses that are reopening, and what the next steps may look like. We’ll also continue to hear from reporters in neighboring states about what reopening looks like there - this week, we talk with a reporter from Massachusetts.

Air date: Friday, May 15, 2020 

 

Chris Spielmann/Wikimedia Commons

Manchester is easing the process for restaurants to set up outdoor seating, including using sidewalk space in front of adjacent properties.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants in the state will be allowed to serve customers outdoors beginning May 18, though tables will need to be spaced at least six feet apart.

Sign up for NHPR's coronavirus newsletter to get the latest updates.

Additional government spending may be necessary to avoid long-lasting fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday.

Powell said the economy should recover once the virus is under control. But he cautioned that without more help, many small businesses may not survive that long. And he warned that a wave of business and household bankruptcies could do lasting damage to the nation's economic output.

If you're still waiting for your pandemic payment from the federal government, and you would like to receive it directly into your bank account, head over to the IRS website by noon on Wednesday.

If the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information by that deadline, you'll still get your payment — but you'll receive it in the form of a paper check, which might not arrive until June.

David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire dental practices began reopening Monday, seeing patients for non-urgent, elective procedures. 

The state released guidelines on Friday that allow dentist’s offices to reopen so long as they have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and safely treat patients. 

Josh Rogers | NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says he’d prefer out-of-staters to stay home as New Hampshire begins to reopen parts of its economy.

But retail locations, including malls, opened in New Hampshire Monday, including along the Massachusetts border.

Sign up for NHPR's coronavirus newsletter to get the latest updates.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

New Hampshire’s economy took another step towards reopening on Monday, as retail businesses and hair salons welcomed customers back inside their stores.

Wikimedia

While some childcare centers in New Hampshire have stayed open during the pandemic, others have shuttered and are now considering reopening. We discuss what factors centers are weighing as they make this difficult decision and talk about what the reopening process will look like.

Air date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020. 

Face masks
Centers for Disease Control

Officials in Salem are considering imposing a fine on anyone not wearing a mask or face covering in indoor public locations in town.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire retail stores, hair salons, and barbershops will be permitted to allow customers back inside on Monday for the first time since Gov. Chris Sununu instituted limits to curtail the spread of coronavirus nearly two months ago.

Very briefly, at the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, there were slightly more women on American nonfarm payrolls than men.

That's no longer true. The historically disastrous April jobs report shows that the brunt of job losses fell on women.

Governor's Office

Gov. Chris Sununu put out new guidance Friday that could pave the way for dentists to resume procedures they put off due to COVID-19 as early as next week.

Cori Princell / NHPR

Almost all of the state's farmers markets intend to open this year, with new precautions to address COVID-19.

The Concord Farmers Market opens for the season on Saturday. Wayne Hall, the market’s president and owner of Rockey Ole Farm in Concord, says that in addition to opening the market a week later than normal, he’s been working on new policies to keep both patrons and vendors safe.

Sean Hurley/NHPR

Like a lot of restaurants, Mad River Tavern in Campton shut down in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Most employees were laid off, and whatever ingredients could be saved landed in the freezer. 

With the doors closed, tavern owner TJ O’Neil rolled up his sleeves.

With the help of a skeleton crew, he refurbished the bar, painted walls, and did trim work. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

When New Hampshire reopens parts of its economy in the next couple of weeks, the public beaches on the Seacoast will stay closed. It's sparked debate in seaside towns like Rye over what restrictions are warranted.


Weekly N.H. News Roundup: May 8, 2020

May 7, 2020

With longterm care facilities accounting for over 3 out of 4 COVID-19 deaths in the state, we discuss how the state is responding. Hospitals are beginning to allow elective surgeries and other procedures. And we go to the Seacoast and the state of Maine to see what “re-opening” efforts look like there.

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus has become the first department store chain to declare bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic. Its fall is foreboding to other chains, whose financial distress predates the health crisis, such as J.C. Penney.

Updated at 8:43 a.m. ET

Another 3.2 million people filed for unemployment for the first time last week, bringing the total number of jobs lost during the coronavirus crisis in the last seven weeks to at least 33.5 million.

Last week's number was down from the nearly 3.9 million initial claims filed the week ending April 25, and filings have fallen for five weeks in a row.

The claims numbers come one day before the release of the April jobs report, which is expected to show a staggering jump in unemployment to around 16%.

Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

New Hampshire’s energy efficiency sector is shedding jobs due to COVID-19, but advocates also say that industry could help the state dig out of the recession.

The state lost more than 750 energy-related jobs in March, according to the research firm BW. New England lost nearly 15,000 energy jobs overall that month, mostly in Massachusetts.  

When is it safe for people to go back to work?

That's the question both employers and workers are asking, as businesses around the country start to open doors shuttered by the coronavirus.

Workers want assurances they aren't putting themselves at risk. And employers want to know they won't be sued if workers get sick.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says liability protection for employers must be included in the next round of pandemic relief legislation.

NH State Parks

New restrictions for New Hampshire campgrounds are easing some -  but not all - fears in North Country towns about the spread of coronavirus.

Under new state orders, campgrounds must run at half capacity and can only open to New Hampshire residents or private members.

Courtesy Karena Czzowitz

Karena Czzowitz, a junior at Manchester School of Technology, is studying to be a Licensed Nursing Assistant. LNA’s are in high demand across New Hampshire, especially in nursing homes.

But with school closures during the coronavirus pandemic, Karena is missing a big part of her education. 

ISO-New England screenshot

New England saw a big drop in energy prices and demand in March, as the coronavirus pandemic coincided with mild late-winter weather.

The region's grid operator, ISO-New England, says March had the lowest electricity prices since 2003, when the current market structure began.

The regional grid runs mostly on natural gas, and gas prices were 60 percent lower in March of this year than last.

Courtesy photo

The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since Friday afternoon for Kae Mason, who owns Salon K in Concord.

She says since Governor Sununu announced that some businesses can re-open this month with  restrictions, her salon has booked over 175 appointments.

Related: What's changed in N.H.'s stay-at-home order?

Dan Tuohy; NHPR

Governor Sununu announced plans for a slow reopening of the New Hampshire economy after more than a month of stay-at-home orders, yet many businesses remained closed and people rethink their summers. We talk about the summer economy in New Hampshire and what to expect this year, from tourism to real estate. 

Air date: Monday, May 4, 2020. 

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