Business Guidance Snapshot

In response to the global pandemic, the State of New Hampshire issued Universal Guidance, as well as sector-specific guidelines, to mitigate, and prevent, the spread of COVID-19.  The Department of Business and Economic Affairs compiled the following information as a quick reference to key components of the guidance to help keep New Hampshire residents and employees safe, as well as those visiting here.

Here is a summary of some sectors, a full list can be found on What's Open in NH:
Restaurant/Food Services
Yard Sales and Craft Fairs
Mandatory Self-Quarantine
Private Boathouses and Docks
Outdoor Tennis Facilities
Youth Sporting Events
Places of Worship

Guidance and Guidelines are Mandatory

All Businesses and Organizations operating within the State of New Hampshire are required to follow and comply with the Universal Guidelines and any industry-specific guidance that apply to them.

Governor Sununu declared a State of Emergency for the State of New Hampshire, on March 16, 2020, under Executive Order 2020-04, which has been extended several times, most recently under Executive Order 2020-16. The Governor is authorized to declare a state of emergency under RSA 4:45-4:47 and issue necessary orders under those statutes and RSA 21-P, including RSA 21-P:45, which specifically authorizes the issuance of orders by the Governor.  

Emergency Order 52, which has been extended under Emergency Order 61, paragraph 1, states that “[a]ll businesses or other organizations operating within this State shall comply with the Universal Business Guidelines attached hereto as Exhibit A and any other industry-specific guidelines issued by the State of New Hampshire pursuant to or subsequent to this Order…. Attached hereto as Exhibit B.”  In accordance with RSA 21-P:47, “[i]f any person violates any order, rule, or regulation made pursuant to this subdivision, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” Further, Emergency Order 52 states, under paragraph 10, that the Division of Public Health and state and local police have the authority to enforce the Order.  (Emphasis added)

  • For every restaurant and bar, people must have a seat and must be in their seats except when walking in, traveling to and from the restroom, and leaving the restaurant.  Customers are not allowed to stand/mingle in the bar area and must be seated (no groups are allowed to interact with each other).  

  • Bar areas are only allowed to be open while following social distancing requirements between household groups or individuals seated at the bar (capacity may be limited in order to maintain 6 feet distance).

  • Games and other bar functions (such as pool/billiards, darts, arcade games, corn hole, horseshoes, karaoke, etc.) are not allowed and must be closed.  

  • Lottery gaming machines are allowed to be used by one player with no other individuals standing or sitting closely around the machine but must be cleaned and disinfected between each user.

  • Small group bands and solo music artists are allowed to perform in outdoor areas only as long as they can maintain a social distance of 6 feet apart from each other and any customers’ tables or chairs.

  • No indoor performances are allowed in restaurants and bars.

  • Signage must be prominently posted throughout the restaurant or bar asking customers if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and informing them that if they are experiencing such symptoms, they should not enter the restaurant or bar.

  • Indoor dining is limited based on county.  Outdoor dining is allowed with appropriate approvals from municipal officials and the Liquor Commission.

  • Outdoor dining is when at least 3 sides of a facility are completely open to the outside without screens.

  • Tables and chairs must be more than 6 feet apart from other tables and chairs.

  • Only 6 adults and a total of 10 individuals, including the 6 adults, are allowed at any table.

  • All tables and chairs must be disinfected between each use.

  • Direct customer service employees (such as waiters, bartenders serving to individuals, bus people, hostesses/hosts, etc.) shall wear face coverings over their noses and mouths at all times when at work.  

  • Kitchen staff and other restaurant staff who are not involved in direct customer service shall wear face coverings when they are not able to maintain 6 feet of distance at all times from other staff.

  • Face shields shall not be allowed as a substitute to wearing a face covering.  All employees who must wear face coverings cannot receive an exception due to a medical related reason.

  • Any restaurant employee who has symptoms of COVID-19, close contact with someone suspected or confirmed to have had COVID-19, or who has traveled by airplane, bus, cruise ship, or public transit must not be allowed to work at the restaurant until 10 days since the symptoms first appeared and at least 3 days (72 hours) since the symptoms resolved – or for 14 days from the time of the exposure to the suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or the travel risk occurred.

  •  All employees must be trained on ServSafe COVID-19, use of face coverings, use of hand sanitizer, and cleaning and disinfecting requirements.

  • New Hampshire does not have a mandatory requirement that people coming into the State self-quarantine.  However, the recommended guidance is that anyone entering New Hampshire from a non-New England state should self-quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in New Hampshire.  Certain businesses and organizations may have more restrictive requirements regarding self-quarantining.
  • Farm Stands and Farmers’ Markets were listed as “essential services” from the beginning of the State of Emergency and are allowed to be open.  They must follow the Universal Guidelines.  They may also need to follow the Retail Guidance if they operate a store.
  • Private pools operated by homeowners’ associations or condominium associations are not considered businesses within the meaning of the Emergency Orders and may be open at the association’s discretion for participating residents.  This includes pools at associations where private property owners may rent their individual units.  Those property owners should provide notice to their renters that there are no special cleaning processes occurring in common areas of their property.  
Under the Amateur and Youth Sports Guidance, only New England teams, groups, and athletes are allowed to attend competitive sporting events, training sessions, or practices except under the following conditions:
  1.  A non-New England athlete or member of a team or group certifies in writing that he or she has “quarantined” in his or her home state for 14 days prior to arriving in New Hampshire;

  2. “Quarantine” means that the individual executing the certification swears that he or she remained at a home for at least 14 days before arriving in New Hampshire, only going out for essential items or work, and, when outside of the home, maintained physical distancing of 6 feet from other people and wore a face covering/mask when within less than 6 feet of another person during the 14 day quarantine period;

  3. The written certifications must be delivered to the individual coordinating the event and must be maintained for 21 days after the completion of the event; and

  4. No athlete or member of a team or group shall be allowed to participate in an event in New Hampshire if he or she has traveled in the 14 day period prior to arriving in New Hampshire by public transportation, including, but not limited to, airplane, train, bus, or subway, or has been on a cruise ship, or has traveled from another country despite the means of transportation.

  • All places of worship shall limit building occupancy to 50 percent of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy level as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder.  However actual occupancy might need to be lower than 50% occupancy in order to comply with social distancing and other guidance contained in these Guidelines.  For outdoor services, the maximum number of attendees shall be the highest number of attendees for which the social distancing requirements contained in this guidance can be met using the space available for the service.

  • Child care or youth religious education is permissible following the Summer School Guidance.

  • Activities such as close physical contact, handshakes, embraces, and kissing, are discouraged, under paragraph 18. Additionally, singing without masks on can cause a significant spread of droplets to other attendees.  If a person has COVID-19 and sings, that individual can spread the virus to many more people.  Singing is not recommended.

  • Communal food events, such as coffee hours or sharing meals, are not allowed in accordance with paragraph 18 c.  And, no childcare is allowed in accordance with paragraph 18 b.

  • Staff and attendees are recommended to be screened each day prior to entering the worship facility in accordance with paragraph 7 of the Places of Worship Guidance.

  • Under the Places of Worship Guidance, paragraphs 8 - 14, a plan should be developed by your group showing how you will monitor social distancing, different entrances and exits, spacing of chairs to allow people to pass each other safely, one-way traffic flow, schedules to help alleviate crowding, and establishment of areas for lines where social distancing can occur.