CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The state Senate gave preliminary approval Thursday to a COVID-19 catchall bill that seeks to protect nursing home residents and boost both live performance venues and the state’s smallest businesses. But it delayed action on legislation to shield businesses from virus-related lawsuits.

The bill that advanced to the Senate Finance Committee would bring in outside consultants to assess the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities and create grant programs to support performance venues with fewer than 300 seats and businesses with 10 or fewer workers.

The bill includes $250,000 for the nursing home assessment, $1 million for the performance venue grants and $3 million for the microbusiness grants, all of which would come from federal funding.

The Senate voted to retain the business liability bill on the recommendation of its Commerce Committee, which heard testimony that no such lawsuits have been filed in the state.

In other coronavirus developments:


U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire says she continues to hear from frustrated constituents about delays in mail delivery, and she’s asking top officials for explanations.

An inspector general report issued at Hassan’s request in December found that delays in mail delivery stemmed largely from the inability to hire and retain staff. In a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Thursday, she asked for an update on implementing the report’s recommendations, including the number of staff hired at each postal facility in the state since it was issued.

"The pandemic has made the Postal Service an even more important part of the fabric of American life than ever before,” wrote Hassan, a Democrat.