Metro Creative Connection

N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu on Monday announced that he is limiting hotels and other short-term rentals to essential stays through at least May 4 to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The order prevents renting rooms to vacationers, for instance, but hotels can continue to house essential workers or vulnerable groups, according to the order. This includes first responders, health-care workers, domestic violence victims and people who are self-isolating or self-quarantining, Sununu said at a news conference.

People who are currently in a hotel or other short-term rental, such as an Airbnb rental, are allowed to remain through the end of their reservation, he said.

Sununu said he has heard concerns about out-of-state residents coming into New Hampshire to visit popular hiking spots like Mount Monadnock. He said that while no governor has the power to ban people entering the state, he can take steps to discourage nonessential visitors.

He said the order does not apply to campgrounds at this point.

The order also allows hotels to house children in emergency placements; homeless people for emergency shelter; people receiving long-term, specialized care from a medical provider in the state; those who need emergency housing due to an extenuating circumstance like a fire; and people unable to return to their homes outside of New Hampshire due to travel restrictions.

It says hotels can rent to any worker employed by businesses and organizations deemed essential under a previous executive order.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced last week that his stay-at-home order closed lodging facilities including campgrounds. As in New Hampshire, exceptions are allowed, including housing health-care workers.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS.