Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Business and Economy

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu has formed a task force to advise him on a potential phased reopening of the state’s economy. The task force includes state economic and tourism officials, chamber of commerce members, a chief of police, and leaders of industry groups representing retail merchants, restaurants and hospitals, as well as several lawmakers.

LRGHealthcare Facebook Page

In the middle of March, LRGHealthcare — already drowning in debt — added more stones to its pockets. To prepare for a possible surge in coronavirus patients, the parent company of Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia and Franklin Regional Hospital was forced to cancel all of its elective procedures.

PublicDomainPictures.net

In preparation for a potential surge of coronavirus patients, hospitals around the state cancelled elective procedures and closed down or limited other wings of their facilities.

Hospital emergency rooms remain open, but patients, even those with serious health conditions, don’t seem to be using them. 

NHPR's Rick Ganley spoke with Dr. Mary Valvano, chief of emergency medicine at Portsmouth Regional, about what she's seen in her ER.

Dartmouth College-UNH Survey Center New Hampshire COVID-19 study

A new survey from UNH and Dartmouth College shows widespread economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in New Hampshire, but also widespread agreement that social distancing is more important than restarting the economy.

Results from the survey show one-third of working New Hampshire residents say they have either lost their job or had their hours cut as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dan Tuohy; NHPR

Update (April 16, 2020 at 2:40 p.m): According to their website, the SBA "is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding.

EIDL applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A new program to provide extra pay for workers at long-term care facilities could cost the state of New Hampshire as much as $30 million a month.

Governor Chris Sununu gave lawmakers that estimate Wednesday during the first meeting of a new legislative advisory board on the state's COVID-19 response.

The stipends will come from the state's general fund at first, but Sununu says the state has also applied for a waiver to replenish that money with federal tax dollars.

BOEM.gov

A fishing industry group wants New Hampshire and neighboring states to put off planning offshore wind development during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, or RODA, sent a letter to the governors of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts on Tuesday. The group represents the fishing industry in states with offshore wind development.

Sara Plourde | NHPR

Small businesses are struggling right now...but people *are* trying to help. Are you a small business owner? Are you doing your best to support the businesses you love? We want to talk to you!

This program aired on Tuesday, April 14th. 

NHPR's newsroom needs your help. Click here to make a donation to support our work. 

Listen:

Scrumshus via Wikimedia Commons

Members of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation say they’re worried that two new federal decisions - from the Navy and the Environmental Protection Agency - will increase risks related to COVID-19. 

The EPA announced today that it will not tighten air pollution limits on fine particulate matter, despite staff recommendations to do so.

raymondclarkeimages/Flickr

While large sectors of the economy are shuttered at the moment, there are still plenty of products to ship, and goods to deliver to peoples’ homes.

Truckers, a loud but often invisible piece of the market, are in the middle of those transactions, logging thousands of miles back and forth across New England.

Dan Tuohy; NHPR

The CARES Act, a record-setting federal stimulus package, is funneling $2 trillion into the U.S. economy, including hundreds of millions for small businesses and nonprofits hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. We look at how the package aims to help these organizations get through the next few months. 

Click here to read all of NHPR's coronavirus coverage. 

Air date: Wednesday, April 15, 2020. 

Ellen Grimm for NHPR

For "essential retail workers," exposure to the public is part of the job -- scanning and bagging groceries, filling prescriptions. 

But protective measures vary from state to state and even within a single state. Some stores are allowing only a certain number of customers in at a time; many are setting safety-distance markers at check-out lines.

We look at what precautions New Hampshire and nearby states are taking, along with federal guidelines. Recently, meanwhile, the Union of Food and Commercial Workers asked the CDC to issue new mandatory guidance on safety protocols for grocery stores, pharmacies, food processing and meatpacking facilities.

Air date: 9 - 10 am, Tuesday April 14, 2020

PEXELS

New Hampshire has issued more than 300 emergency professional licenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About half of the new emergency licenses have gone to behavioral and mental health practitioners, including licensed social workers and psychologists.

This comes as Governor Chris Sununu has loosened New Hampshire's licensing rules in an effort to bolster the state's medical workforce during the ongoing public health emergency.

One of the changes, according to the governor, allows providers to more easily work at multiple institutions.

Courtesy

Most of us have never experienced anything quite like this moment. But Sharon Eng and her husband, who today own a manufacturing company in Belmont, happened to find themselves in the middle of another disease outbreak, on the other side of the world, in 2003. 

“My husband and I moved to Hong Kong in 1989, and we returned to the States in 2005,” said Eng. “So we got to see a lot of changes happen around the world. But in the latter part of our stay there, of course one of the most impactful changes, was when SARS hit.”

Courtesy of Baer

The Exeter New Hampshire-based hockey gear company Bauer is joining other manufacturers and universities in a push to make protective gear for medical staff and first responders.

Bauer's factory, located outside of Montreal, usually makes skates for professional hockey players. But in late March, it began designing plastic face shields meant to give people wearing masks an extra layer of protection from the coronavirus.

Bauer’s sister company in Liverpool, New York, typically manufactures lacrosse equipment. Now it is also making face shields.

N.H. Farmers Face An Uncertain Spring

Apr 5, 2020
CJEJ Farm

If you thought being a New Hampshire farmer was challenging before, imagine doing it in the midst of a global pandemic. Farmers are well-acquainted with uncertainty, but this Spring, Granite State farmers are being challenged to find new ways to produce and sell their products. We talk with small family farms to find  out how they're coping, if federal subsidies are available, and if strong local connections will endure.

Air date: Monday, April 6, 2020

Courtesy photo, ConvenientMD

Gov, Chris Sununu said New Hampshire is prepared to handle the expected surge in coronavirus cases, but that some local hospitals will need help from the state to remain open.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Sununu said the state now has more than 5,200 beds ready to handle COVID-19 patients and others needing care when the coronavirus peaks here. That includes nearly 1,700 new beds the state has set up at 14 temporary sites across the state.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6757875045/">401(k) 2012</a> / Flickr

Banks in New Hampshire and across the country began getting busy Friday, as businesses harmed by COVID-19 are lining up for a share of $350 billion worth of new federal loans.

Courtesy of Water Street Bookstore

Some people find themselves right now with a lot of extra quiet time in the house. You could  stew. You could tweet. Or, how about you get some reading done? 

Click here to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on coronavirus in New Hampshire delivered to your inbox.  

Salmon Press Newspapers

Newspapers in New Hampshire are in a strange position with COVID-19: lots of readers, but a steep decline in revenue as businesses close in the pandemic.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on coronavirus in New Hampshire delivered to your inbox.  

Right now, in any other year, the Lakes Region would be gearing up for summer – hotels would be selling rooms, restaurants would be preparing to reopen.

Mediaweek via Flickr CC

New Hampshire continues to see unpredecented claims for unemployment benefits, as non-essential businesses across the state have been forced to close until May 4 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The federal coronavirus stimulus package, known as the CARES Act, includes funding that will provide a boost to those seeking assistance while out of work.

Sign up for our email newsletter to get the latest on coronavirus in New Hampshire 

We'll talk with Rich Lavers, deputy commissioner of New Hampshire's Employment Security office, about these changes, what they mean for you, and help to answer your unemployment questions. 

Air date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 from 10-11 a.m.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6757875045/">401(k) 2012</a> / Flickr

Rent is due this week for many tenants across New Hampshire. But due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, many have lost their income and may not be able to make their payments.

NHPR's reporters are working around the clock to bring you the latest on this critical story. Click here to make a donation to support our newsroom. 

Wikimedia

Business across the state are facing tough decisions, with some deciding to close their doors, either temporarily or permanently, while others, like restaurants, are choosing to offer only take-out options.

We'll discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting small businesses, what they are doing to cope with this new reality, and how they can plan for the future. 

Air date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 from 9-10 a.m.

ilovememphis via Flickr Creative Commons

Grocery stores and gas stations are among the businesses deemed "essential" under Governor Chris Sununu's new stay-at-home order. 

Related: What does N.H.'s stay-at-home order mean?

The Hanover Food Co-op, which owns four stores in the Upper Valley and employs close to 400 people, is one grocery store company taking additional steps to keep employees and customers safe.  

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Gov. Chris Sununu and other state authorities have spent the past few weeks urging employers across the state to make big changes to how they do business, to stem the spread of COVID-19.

But New Hampshire state government is itself one of the state’s largest employers, with nearly 10,000 full-time and more than 2,000 part-time employees across dozens of state agencies. 

NHPR staff

Gov. Chris Sununu issued an expansive stay-at-home order Thursday, requiring all New Hampshire residents except for those employed by “essential” businesses to stay put until at least May 4 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The $2 trillion stimulus package passed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday seeks to help soften the economic damage of the coronavirus. Here’s a summary of how the bill, which the House could take up as early as Friday, would likely impact New Hampshire residents and businesses. 

Direct Payments

Many businesses in New Hampshire’s seasonal tourism industry fill job openings with international workers on a J-1 visa, also known as a work and travel visa.

But, as the ski season winds down, many of those international workers find themselves in a kind of limbo because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to support the journalism NHPR is bringing you every day on this critical story.

Courtesy photo

Fabrizia Spirits in Salem relies on a key ingredient that you might not think would come in handy during a pandemic: lemons

“We buy and process about 700,000 lemons a year,” said owner Phil Mastroianni.

Normally those lemons go into limoncello, an Italian liqueur. But the coronavirus completely transformed Mastroianni’s business in the course of just one day last week.

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