CONCORD — The state’s houses of worship may welcome back their members under reopening rules Gov. Chris Sununu approved Friday.
Starting immediately, church and synagogue goers can attend services as long as they socially distance 6 feet apart, refrain from touching others such as shaking hands or hugging and make up no more than 40% of the church’s capacity.
“You need something that grounds you and for a lot of us it could be family and faith,” Sununu said. “That is a personal thing and when it gets interrupted, that can be traumatic.”
The long-awaited decision was one of several announced as Sununu said starting next Friday hotels and others offering short-term rentals can open up to any New Hampshire resident or out-of-stater who has first quarantined in the state for at least 14 days.
Larger hotels with interior doors that open into group hallways can open up to 50% capacity, Sununu said.
Those inns or rentals with only outdoor entrances or with 20 or fewer units can fully open.
Driver’s education training can resume immediately as long as the student and instructor are both wearing face coverings and no one else is in the car.
Youth day and overnight camps also got the green light but not right away.
Day camps can start opening June 22, and overnight camps can begin June 28.
Sununu said overnight camps will open later as administration officials are still fine-tuning the ground rules for their reopening.
These moves came on the same day the state announced for the first time that anybody who wants a test for COVID-19 can get one, whether they have symptoms or not.
Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said in recent weeks the demand for testing has declined, and that’s why she made the decision with Sununu’s support to offer it to anyone.
The state announced 107 positive cases of the novel coronavirus with six new deaths, all from Hillsborough County and all from long-term care settings.
This makes 238 COVID-19 deaths in the state, about 5% of the total cases reported
Shibinette said there was one new outbreak, this one at Mt. Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. (See related story).
Statewide, there were two new hospitalizations and about 10% of those who have tested positive have needed hospital care.
There are 4,492 who have tested positive, and that represents just under 6.5% of the more than 70,000 tests that have been performed to detect the disease.
Sununu also announced he was extending the state’s Stay at Home Order for two more weeks, but when that period ends on June 15 the order will be lifted.