This morning all the Chamber of Commerce Directors participated in a conference call with Governor Chris Sununu and Commissioner Taylor Caswell from the Department of Business and Economic Affairs.
The following issues were shared with promises from the Governor and Commissioner to look into possible solutions:
Labor concerns with the potential lack of J1 students may provide for an easing of child labor laws as they relate to 14 and 15 year old persons who could work later hours if laws allowed
- Delay payment of 9% Rooms and Meals taxes
- Delay payments of health insurance premiums – Governor Sununu will discuss options with the Department of Insurance
- Banking Industry is considering short-term loans, Governor is considering expanding the use of the Business Finance Authority to guarantee loans
- Commissioner is communicating with SBA the need to lower the interest rate from the current 3.7% they are offering
- The Office of Tourism has pulled back all marketing for Spring tourism as a non-essential expenditure.
Businesses are experiencing messaging from citizens that they are being socially irresponsible if they do not close. This is not a fair message to harass businesses with at this time. Creating a new model of providing business services is the prudent approach. This model would review the latest suggested guidelines from the CDC and governing bodies.
There is no evidence of the COVID-19 virus having been spread through food service. The state has traced every occurrence to its cause. Remember all restaurants are highly regulated for food safety and use ServSafe as a way to train their Food Managers, Handlers, Bartenders etc. If interested see: https://www.servsafe.com/ServSafe-Food-Handler/Buy-Handler-Products
At this time there is no intention of closing State Parks
All non-essential spending and new hiring at the state level has been suspended in order to prepare for evolving expenditures to provide funds for services being identified as needed by this “new normal”
Business opportunities are available for those who can manufacture masks, protective medical products. The federal government may ease regulations allowing states to manufacture these much needed items. Contact Taylor.Caswell@livefree.nh.gov if you have ideas
As we go forward we will be reviewing opening restaurants outside spaces for a start.
The Governor shares that we can expect this experience to go on for longer than a few weeks but to stay optimistic knowing that the entities that can are processing the needs and getting services to us. Keep the chamber informed of any business related needs that we can have a positive impact on as we are counting on them to keep us informed.
Keeping the Lights On
A solid idea came to me via Brenda Leavitt of Badger Realty. Where possible lets keep our outside lights on and storefront lights on to send a message of optimism to our citizens and visitors. Changing your door light or seasonal window lights to green would be a message of hope as well. It will be fun to see how many of you can participate. This is a great story to send out to our guests as we keep in touch for when they can return.
Income tax payments will be due July 15th instead of April 15th.
Stay tuned for more!