Client Alert: Governor Sununu Announces ‘Stay-at-Home 2.0’ Plan to Begin Re-Opening New Hampshire’s Economy


Client Alert: Governor Sununu Announces ‘Stay-at-Home 2.0’ Plan to Begin Re-Opening New Hampshire’s Economy

By: Jim Merrill and Kathy Corey Fox

In Brief

This afternoon, Governor Sununu announced a sweeping plan to begin the process of re-opening New Hampshire’s economy. The plan, announced through the implementation of a new, modified Stay-at-Home 2.0 order in effect until May 31st, and will be implemented in phases as detailed below, addressing several critical sectors of the state’s economy hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Universal Guidance

As part of the Stay-at-Home 2.0 plan, the Governor issued Universal Guidance today that is applicable to any business currently open as well as those that will soon be opening.  Importantly, the Universal Guidance is made mandatory and the standards contained within are to be considered the “bare minimum standards which businesses must meet to maintain or begin operations.”

Key points covered in the Universal Guidance include:

For Employers:

  • Require all employees who are sick or not feeling well to stay home, and employees must notify their supervisor by phone
  • Develop a process for screening all employees reporting for work for COVID-19 related symptoms
  • Handle employee(s) who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. answers “yes” to any of the screening questions or who is found to have a fever) in a proscribed fashion
  • Strongly promote frequent hand hygiene, and make alcohol-based hand sanitizer readily available
  • Implement workplace cleaning and disinfection practices
  • Mitigate employee exposure and reduce the risk to employees in the workplace by supporting the use of cloth face coverings in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain, implement social distancing guidelines, and modify employee schedules, where possible, to reduce the number of physical interactions
  • Allow employees to work from home as much as practical
  • Plan for potential COVID-19 cases and work to ensure privacy rights are preserved
  • Covered employers and employees should be reminded of the provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Update their Employee Illness Policy to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws
  • Communicate frequently with both employees and customers about steps being taken to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the workplace

For Employees:

  • Stay home when feeling ill
  • If COVID-19 symptoms develop, even mild symptoms, employees should contact their PCP about testing
  • Increase hygiene practices
  • Wear a cloth face covering
  • Practice social distancing
  • Abide by employer, local and state guidelines

The Universal Guidance, which can be read in its entirety here provides additional detail on each of these points that both employers and employees should review and consider.

Specific Industry Guidance

In addition to the Universal Guidance set forth above, the Governor’s Stay-at-Home 2.0 Plan also establishes timetables to open up various industry sectors over the next three weeks, along with detailed guidance that addresses three primary areas of emphasis: (1) employee protection; (2) consumer protection; and (3) required business practice adaptation.

A close review of the guidance – linked below for each industry – reveals details that should be carefully reviewed. As with the Universal Guidance, the industry guidance provided below is mandatory and must be followed by a business in order for it to operate.

Industries that can continue to operate with new, modified guidance

May 4th Phase-In – Health Care

May 11th Phase-In – Retail, Drive-In Theaters, Golf Courses, Barbers and Hair Salons

May 18th Phase-In – Restaurants and the Food Service Industry

Bottom Line

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving, requiring businesses to adapt quickly to the legal, regulatory, economic, and community impacts. Our government and legislative affairs team is monitoring these developments in real time and we’re here to support and assist you as needed. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be helpful to you.