Fund created to help self-employed in New Hampshire

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) A fund has been created to help sole proprietors in New Hampshire experiencing hardship during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

The Self Employment Livelihood Fund will offer amounts up to $50,000 to those mom-and-pop businesses that qualify.

He said it's estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 individuals statewide are going through unemployment or identified themselves through applying for the Main Street Relief Fund for small businesses, which did not cover sole proprietors.

“There's clearly a need there on the self-employment side," he said.

People can apply from July 6 to July 17.

Sununu also announced a $1.5 million fund to go to Volunteer NH, which supports and sponsors national service initiatives and provides training, recognition and a central site for volunteers and volunteer programs to strengthen communities.

Other coronavirus-related developments in New Hampshire:

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HOTELS AND CAMPGROUNDS

Starting Monday, all hotels and campgrounds in New Hampshire will be able to operate at 100% occupancy.

Smaller inns and other lodging were allowed to reopen June 5 at full capacity, with larger venues at 50% capacity.

Sununu said there is “no direct evidence of severe breakouts of COVID-19 due to lodging."

For out-of-staters, a quarantine-at-home rule for 14 days before arriving still applies.

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NASCAR FANS

Fans will be allowed - with social distancing - at the NASCAR race scheduled at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Aug. 2.

The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, originally scheduled for July 19, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Speedway said Thursday there will be social distancing in the grandstands and concession lines; enhanced cleaning and sanitation in high-touch, high-traffic public areas; added hand-sanitizer stations; limited guests in suites; and infield admission for race team and operational personnel only. The event, which can seat 60,000 people, would be filled at 35% capacity.

Masks would be required for employees, and suggested for spectators. No camping is allowed.

“The state worked closely with the folks at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the New Hampshire Division of Public Health to put forward comprehensive, operational guidance," Gov. Sununu said in a statement. “While the stands will not be as full as they usually are, we are proud to be able to hold an in-person viewing experience for NASCAR fans."

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CITY HALL REOPENING

The city of Nashua, New Hampshire, is hoping to reopen City Hall on July 6, with limits on visitors and mandatory face masks.

City Hall will be open for many of its routine business functions, but some will be by appointment only, the Telegraph of Nashua reports.

“There are going to be significant physical changes at automobile registrations, city clerk’s office, in the assessing office and to some degree in the mayor’s office where there’s a lot of public interaction,” Mayor Jim Donchess said Tuesday at a Board of Aldermen meeting.

For now, automobile registration will be in the auditorium, so people can be spaced apart, he said.

City Hall has been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic since March 18.

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UNEMPLOYMENT

More than 5,200 initial unemployment claims were filed in New Hampshire last week, down by more than 1,100 from the previous week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The latest number covers new claims through June 20.

The number of new claims in a week peaked at 39,000 in early April and has since been declining. New Hampshire has paid out $660 million in unemployment claims since March.

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THE NUMBERS

As of Thursday, 5,638 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 40. Ten new deaths were reported, for a total of 357 people who have died from the coronavirus.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.

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