Opening back up

Barring another outbreak or surge, things are opening back up. This does not mean that you should stop being careful. Using safe best practices will help ensure that once things are open, they can stay that way. While many mask requirements are being lifted, using one is still allowed and probably a good idea. You may have heard that the statewide mask mandate has expired and wondered why you still have to wear one in a business. Last year, before the statewide mandate, businesses opened and were given best practices to adhere to. That is where we are now. Additionally, some local municipalities have their own mask orders. Their authorization and requirement to protect public health in their town or city allows them to do this. ~ Steve

All New Hampshire state employees to return to offices by May 10

‘We expect to be fully operational and in person,’ governor says


State government employees who have been working from home during the coronavirus pandemic will be back in their offices by May 10, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

“All agencies are getting the same message, we’re not picking or choosing certain agencies or divisions or departments,” he said. “We expect to be fully operational and in person, with buildings open to the public, with public access for the business transactions that have to happen one on one.

While Sununu lifted the statewide mask mandate earlier this month, state offices remain subject to any municipal ordinances in their particular location, according to his office. The ordinance in Concord, however, where many state offices are located, only applies to retail businesses.

Individual workers can wear masks if they prefer, Sununu said.

“Obviously we always want them to feel safe, it’s always an option for them to have,” he said.

People on unemployment will need to show they’re job hunting

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Starting next month, New Hampshire is once again requiring that people receiving unemployment benefits be looking for work.

“Traditionally, you had to prove that you were searching for gainful employment while collecting unemployment benefits,” Gov. Chris Sununu said at a news conference Thursday. That was waived last year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since, the economy has rebounded and New Hampshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates, at 3%. Starting May 23, residents are being required to look for work while on unemployment benefits. It doesn’t mean that if a person can’t find work, they will lose their benefits, Sununu said.

“There are tens of thousands of high-paying jobs across the state available today,” he said. “It’s just an awesome opportunity.” He said in one recent virtual job fair, there were over 100 employers offering more than 3,000 jobs, but only about 140 job seekers showed up.

Sununu said jobs need to be filled, especially in tourism-related areas, restaurants, hotels, and tech and manufacturing.

New Hampshire Works job centers will be opening to the public by May 10 to assist people. Job fairs are scheduled May 6 for veterans, May 11 for students, graduates and individuals using adult education programs, and May 13 for people in the construction industry.

About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his 7th term. Rep. Smith currently represents Charlestown, Newport, and Unity. Rep. Smith is the Deputy Speaker of the NH House.
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