CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Statehouse will reopen to the public Monday after being closed for nearly 15 months during the coronavirus pandemic.
With the governor's state of emergency declaration expiring Friday night, officials are required to provide the public with physical access to committee of conference meetings during which lawmakers reconcile House and Senate versions of legislation passed this session, House Speaker Sherm Packard said Friday.
The Statehouse and Legislative Office Building will be open to the public on Monday to accommodate that requirement, “and take a big step forward in our ongoing return to normal operations,” Packard said in a message in the House calendar.
Remote access will continue to be provided, and the public is strongly encouraged to view the livestreams as room capacity will be limited and standing will not be allowed.
Packard, R-Londonderry, became speaker in January, following the death of fellow Republican Dick Hinch, who died of COVID-19 in December a week after being sworn in. While the 24-member Senate has met several times inside the Statehouse during the pandemic, the 400-member House has met at the UNH ice arena, outside on an athletic field, from their cars in a parking lot, and more recently, inside a Bedford athletic complex.
More than 99,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 44 cases announced Friday. No new deaths were announced, keeping the total at 1,360.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire decreased over the past two weeks, going from 75 new cases per day on May 26 to 29 new cases per day on Wednesday.