New Hampshire Releases New “Universal Best Practices” for Managing COVID-19


New Hampshire Releases New “Universal Best Practices” for Managing COVID-19

By: Jim Merrill, Teresa Rosenberger and Kathy Corey Fox

What You Should Know

In the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of New Hampshire developed a set of Universal Guidelines to govern COVID-mitigation practices for all businesses deemed essential, in addition to specific mandatory guidance documents for various industries ranging from acupuncture to weddings. Since that time, New Hampshire businesses have been required to comply with both the Universal Guidelines as well as industry-specific guidelines.

As of this Friday, May 7th, these newly developed Universal Best Practices (“UBP”) will replace the prior Universal Guidelines along with various industry-specific guidance, significantly changing the regulatory environment that the New Hampshire business community has faced over the last year.

Most importantly, the new UBP document sets forth voluntary recommendations for all individuals, businesses and organizations to consider and implement, a major change from the mandatory universal and industry guidance from the past year. As Governor Sununu recently said, “as we get out of COVID, as we get folks vaccinated, we’re getting out of the regulations and we’re doing it really, really fast.”

That time will come on Friday. The new Universal Best Practices succinctly sets forth twelve areas of focus for organizations to bear in mind:

  1. Planning and Communication
  2. Vaccination against COVID-19
  3. Identifying and Excluding People with COVID-19, Symptoms or Risk Factors
  4. Testing for COVID-19
  5. Social/Physical Distancing
  6. Face Mask Use
  7. Cohorting and Limiting Group Sizes
  8. Modifying Layouts and Processes
  9. Hand Hygiene
  10. Cleaning and Disinfection
  11. Improving Building, Room and Space Ventilation
  12. Public Health Contact Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine

Many of the details you can read in the UBP may be familiar as they are derived from New Hampshire’s prior mandatory guidance, but trimmed back and turned into voluntary best practice recommendations.

In addition to the best practices outlined in the UBP, businesses are also encouraged to review and consider:

  • CDC guidance for COVID-19
  • New Hampshire DHHS COVID Resource Page
  • New Hampshire’s Best Practices for Overnight Congregate Settings for Kids
  • Long-Term Care Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities: US Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services guidance and NH DHHS guidance
  • K-12 schools: NH Department of Education Grades K-12 Back-to-School Guidance and recent public health guidance discussed and shared with schools.
  • Residential Schools, Colleges and Universities: NH DHHS Recommendations for Responding to COVID-19.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about COVID-19 best practices and programs or any other items at the intersection of government and policy, please contact us today.