NH Retail Association successfully pushes for executive order clarification

Revised action ensures online and mail orders, curbside pickup

At the request of the New Hampshire Retail Association, the governor’s office has clarified the executive order it issued March 26 ordering all businesses and organizations that do not provide essential goods and services to close their premises to “workers, customers and the public and “cease all in-person operations” until May 4.

In a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu, Nancy Kyle, president and chief operating officer of the association, pointed out that nearly 15% of its members have closed altogether, another 20% have closed to the public and reduced hours while offering curbside pick-up and delivery service and a third — including big-box stores — have remained opened but practiced social distancing.

Initially, Kyle read the order to prohibit businesses not deemed “essential” from keeping staff on hand, meaning tht they couldn’t process phone, online and mail orders or provide curbside pickup to customers.

She wrote that “any order to close businesses is sure to pick winners and losers,” noting that the governor’s order allows not only restaurants and florists to operate with specific restrictions, but compels other retailers, like bookstores or gift shops, to close.

Kyle noted that retailers in both Connecticut and Maryland are operating under similar orders, but permit retailers to staff their stores and provide curbside pickup and delivery services and urged the governor to follow the example of his counterparts there. Within hours the order was clarified.

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