Sunday, June 13

NH restaurant fined $1,500 over no social distancing, masks –

The wind blows a blue mask across Ashworth Avenue at Hampton Beach in August 2020.

CONCORD — A New Hampshire restaurant has been fined $1,500 following a complaint about a lack of social distancing and mask wearing during the coronavirus pandemic, the state attorney general’s office said Tuesday. 

The attorney general’s office said it assessed the penalty against Grumpy’s Bar & Grill in Plaistow after the restaurant on Nov. 14 was visited by a police officer who was following up on a photo taken the day before showing “overcrowding, standing and mingling in the bar area, no social distancing between tables, and no face coverings.” The officer said the conditions were similar and that the only person wearing a face covering was the bartender. 

The attorney general, in its letter to Grumpy’s, said it also had been notified earlier in writing that 6 feet is required between tables; the number of people in the bar must be restricted in order to maintain the 6-foot distance; and standing and mingling in bar areas is prohibited. 

Richard LeClaire, Grumpy’s owner, said establishments in nearby Massachusetts had closed earlier under new rules and “so we ended up with a serious overflow that we weren’t ready for.” He said since then, “we’ve taken measures so that won’t happen again.”

Separately, three recent cases of the virus were associated with Grumpy’s, with possible community exposure on Nov. 10 and Nov. 14, state health officials said last week. The restaurant had said on its Facebook page that the entire establishment has since had a “deep sanitizing clean.”

Last week, the attorney general’s office had fined a bakery, bagel shop and pizza place $500 each after repeated complaints about staff not wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic.

The numbers

New Hampshire health officials announced one death and 362 new positive test results for COVID-19 Tuesday.

The death of a Coos County man identified as 60 or older raised the state’s death toll to 513 (about 3% of all cases) with the majority coming in long-term care facilities.

The state’s current active cases increased to 4,311 and the total during the pandemic to 18,382. 

There are currently 121 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 832 people hospitalized (about 5% of all cases).

There are 13,558 people confirmed as recovered (about 74% of all cases).

Among the new 362 new cases are 25 people under age 18. The rest are adults with 49% female and 51% male. The new cases reside in Hillsborough County other than Manchester and Nashua (63), Rockingham (61), Merrimack (43), Belknap (36), Strafford (22), Cheshire (11), Carroll (8), Grafton (3), Coos (2), and Sullivan (2) counties, and in the cities of Manchester (76) and Nashua (20). The county of residence is being determined for 15 new cases.

Medical reps’ plea

Several New Hampshire medical associations have put out a plea to residents to do their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The New Hampshire Hospital Association, the New Hampshire Medical Society and the New Hampshire Nurses Association in a statement on Monday asked the public to continue following health guidance known to slow the community transmission of the virus.

Doctors, nurses and hospitals are “tired, stressed, and worried about the health of their patients,” the statement said. It will take every New Hampshire resident to “play their part in protecting their own health, as well as protecting the health of the caregivers who are providing care to extremely vulnerable patients,” the medical groups said. 

North Pole journey canceled

For the first time in 26 years, a “Journey to the North Pole” fundraiser held by a nonprofit literacy foundation in New Hampshire has canceled for the season because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We are acutely aware of the added economic blow to local business, our business partners, and the hearts and souls of our guests, certainly not to mention the effect it will have on our already strained literacy programs,” A.O. Lucy, executive director of the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation, said in a recent statement. 

Ticketholders for the North Country train trips will receive vouchers redeemable for 2021 or 2022.

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