New Hampshire issues stay-at-home order as lawmakers worry about medical supply shortage

Coronavirus

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is directing residents to stay at home and for all non-essential businesses in the Granite State to close by midnight Friday.

“These are tough decisions, they really are,” Sununu said Thursday. “But at the end of the day we know that the worst may still be ahead of us. It will take sacrifice, but New Hampshire is resilient and we will get through it.”

Sununu’s decision to issue the stay-at-home order came one day after 200 New Hampshire House Democrats sent a letter urging the governor to take action.

Meanwhile, Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen held a telephone town hall Thursday evening to discuss what they say is a critical shortage of medical and other supplies. Earlier this week, Hassan and Shaheen wrote to FEMA and the Department of Health, saying that much of the supplies they have received is either expired or unusable. For instance, more than 16,000 gloves could not be used due to latex allergy concerns.

During the town hall, an essential employee asked them when more ample supplies might become available.

“We are trying to do everything from supporting local innovators and businesses trying to meet needs here as well as push the administration to use its authority more effectively,” Hassan said. “I share your frustration, and it’s really important you all keep speaking up I know when you’re on the frontlines it’s kind of the last thing you should have to do, but it really does make a difference when you’re speaking up.”​

The $2 trillion relief package passed by the U.S. Senate would send $1.25 billion to New Hampshire for response efforts.

Another Granite State resident who called in to the town hall was skeptical that a single $1,200 boost to get through the pandemic would be nearly enough. He wondered if other efforts are in the works.

“When we left after the vote last night, many of us looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s see how fast we can get this implemented so we can get help out there, and if we have to come back, we’ll come back and revisit what people need,'” Shaheen said “So, I think the answer is yes.​”

It was also announced on Thursday that New Hampshire’s legislative activity suspension has been extended through May 4. The State House and legislative office building will remain closed to lawmakers, staff and visitors.

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