CONCORD, N.H. (WBZ NewsRadio) — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has issued a stay-at-home order to Granite State residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting Friday, all non-essential businesses will be required to close. Anyone unsure of whether or not their business is considered essential can contact the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs for clarification.
The order does not prevent New Hampshire residents from leaving their homes.
"This is not a shelter in place," Sununu said on Twitter. "No one will be prevented from leaving their home & the state is not closing its borders."
In addition, New Hampshire schools will be closed through May 4, and state beaches are closing until further notice.
Speaking to WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker, Sununu said he made the decision following Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's lead. Baker announced a similar "stay at home" advisory earlier this week.
"None of these decisions are easy at all," Sununu said. "We know we're really impacting people's lives, we're in uncharted waters. But what we've really tried to do is appreciate that New Hampshire and Massachusetts are very connected economically with our families, our communiites, so we've tried to take a step in a very similar direction."
He explained what types of businesses would close under the order.
"We just want the essential businesses to stay open, and we're providing a lot of flexibility of what 'essential' is," Sununu said. "We want construction to continue, we want some of these critical jobs that have to be up and running through all the different aspects of keeping things moving forward. But there are some non-essential businesses, maybe they're movie theaters or bowling alleys or hair salons or barbers, and unfortunately we're going to have to ask them, given the close proximity and the group gatherings that tend to develop around those businesses, similar to Massachusetts, to close up."
Sununu said many businesses were already voluntarily closed, but his administration was putting "a bit of an explanation point on it, so people understand."
"We gotta make some tough choices and we know we're impacting people's lives, but with unemployment insurance and some other opportunities, we are going to be there for them to make sure we can all get through it together," the governor said.
Sununu reminded people to self-quarantine and abide by social distancing guidelines. He said he can't stop people from coming up from Massachusetts, but asked them to remember that the rules in New Hampshire are similar to those in place in the Commonwealth.
Listen to the full interview with Gov. Sununu below.
WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker (@radiobenparker) reports