***THIS PAGE IS BEING UPDATED AS INFORMATION COMES IN***
Shortly before 5:00 Sunday, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu issued an emergency order closing all K-12 public schools for up to one week. The order further instructed schools to come up with instruction and support plans to teach students remotely starting next week on Monday (March 23rd). Sununu made the announcement saying, “I do not think that any of us anticipates that this will happen flawlessly.” He further requested that New Hampshire residents extend to each other an extra measure of grace as the state goes through this trying time. The full announcement can be read here. The instructions to schools from the Department of Education can be found here as well as pages 2, 3, and 4. The New Hampshire State Legislature has also suspended for a week due to concerns relating to covid-19. Governor Sununu has issued a public statement with information regarding what local governments can legally do to reduce the risks posed. After tonight (3/16/20) New Hampshire will have an emergency order in place banning scheduled public gatherings over 50 people and transitioning restaurants and bars to mandatory offsite eating.
Ossipee’s Police Department announced over social media that they would handle all non-emergency calls by phone, as has North Conway’s Police Department. The New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol has announced that all meetings for Moultonborough and Guilford have been cancelled until further notice and that they are cancelling all boating education classes and proctored exams for the time being. Moultonborough has announced that they are delaying their town and school meeting until April 18th. Moultonborough has also announced that their town offices remain open for necessary business althought their police department has stated that they will be handling non-emergencies over the phone. Vail Resorts, which purchased Attitash and Wildcat Mountains this past year, have closed all of their resorts nationwide. Cranmore has announced that they would be suspending operations for one week starting Monday (March 16th) as they evaluate closing for the season or remaining open on a limited basis. The Conway Public Library has announced that the building will be closed through April 3rd, but that their staff will be on-hand to provide services online and over the phone. The Gibson Center has announced that they will be suspending all social and educational activities for the next two weeks as well as normal operations. The Gibson Center will, however, still be providing Meals on Wheels although the dining room at the Center will be closed. They also have announced that they will be continuing their bus service for medical appointments only. The Mt. Washington Valley Republican Club have announced that they have cancelled their meeting for Monday night (March 16th). Bartlett’s Recreation Department says their Taste of the Valley event has been postponed until May 31st. The Red Parka Pub says that this week’s Bingo for a cause is cancelled as well as their annual Challenge Cup. Settlers Green has announced that they will remain open with expanded cleaning efforts, although they recommend checking the status of individual stores. Settlers Green also say they will be paying attention to announcements by government officials and will be following all recommended actions.
The closures haven’t been limited to New Hampshire. While the Granite State has recently announced their thirteenth case of the virus from Wuhan, Maine is experiencing their third case and have begun to follow suit in closings. Maine’s court system has suspended criminal and civil trials until May 1st. All of Maine’s Legislative committee meetings, except for the appropriations committee, have been cancelled for Monday. Maine’s Cumberland County Government says that they are closing their offices to the public but will remain open for phone and internet service. Fryeburg Academy has decided to close their campus to all day students and visitors, but have kept it open for students who need its resources during the remote learning period. MSAD #61 has decided to temporarily close school for the next two weeks, as has MSAD #72. The Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center has cancelled a number of upcoming events through the start of April.
Listeners should remember that these measures are being taken to reduce the spread of covid-19 during a crucial period. Packing into stores and buying items in a panic nullifies the effect these measures are meant to bring by increasing social interaction in a closed space. For most victims, covid-19 only has mild symptoms. Regular precautionary measures such as washing hands are recommended.
SERVICES TO HELP
Charter Spectrum has announced that they will be providing internet services for free to students for sixty days in order to help out with remote teaching efforts. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
The Bartender Emergency Assistance Program is offering assistance to Bartenders as well as spouses and children of bartenders at this time. You do not need to be a member to receive this assistance. Applications for said assistance are here. Donations can be made to help here.
New Hampshire Electric Co-Op has announced that they are suspending late payment charges and service disconnections for nonpayment. They say members having difficulty paying their bills can contact NHEC to learn more about bill assistance, special payment arrangements, and community support services.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission has placed a moratorium on all utility disconnection activities, meaning that services such as electric transmission and distribution, natural gas utilities, water utilities, and telephone Providers of Last Resort, will not be disconnected for the time of the emergency.