MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Monday morning, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig issued a statement with Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess jointly requesting New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu to direct all Granite Staters, excluding those providing essential services, stay in their homes until further notice to prevent further spread of COVID-19, reiterating requests made earlier to all local residents.
In New Hampshire, state law sets the establishment of any quarantine or isolation orders for communicable disease reasons at the purview of state level authorities.
For Craig and Donchess, the direction from the governor would help keep the total number of COVID-19 cases within the capacity of the state’s hospital infrastructure.
“I understand this isn’t an easy decision, and this is an unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in. However, I believe this move is necessary to keep Granite Staters safe,” said Craig. “The sooner everyone stays home, avoids unnecessary travel and non-essential activities, the better chance we have to flatten the curve and save lives.”
On Monday afternoon, Sununu held a press conference asking all New Hampshire residents to stay in their homes, but noted that the request was voluntary. He added that mandatory measures may need to be taken if New Hampshire residents cannot maintain appropriate social distancing guidelines, but so far New Hampshire has followed neighboring states in requesting rather than ordering residents to keep their distance from each other.
Lauren Smith, Craig’s Chief of Staff, noted that many people in Manchester have been doing their part to help prevent the spread of the disease, but noted those who are not as proof for Monday morning’s request to the Governor.
“There are a lot of folks who are staying home who are suffering a great deal by not having a job to go to, but are trying their best to make it work. But that said, there are individuals that are not practicing physical distancing and as a result, that’s potentially harming residents across the city and across the state,” said Smith. “It’s not one or the other, there are many people who are doing a fantastic job, but we owe it to the people who are doing a fantastic job and to the people who are in high-risk (of contracting COVID-19) to make sure that everyone remains safe.”
As of Sunday, 78 people statewide had tested positive for COVID-19, including seven in Manchester and one in Nashua
UPDATE: A group of several New Hampshire scientists and health officials have released a letter also requesting stronger measures from Sununu, including following the lead of New York State in “shelter-in-place” measures, limiting state liquor stores to “drive-up/pick-up” purchases and activating the New Hampshire Air and Army National Guard.
The letter can be seen in its entirety here.