Dear Clients and Friends,
Updated New Hampshire Universal Guidelines were posted as of September 29. Only two changes were made, both of which are industry-specific:
- Funeral homes may now permit household and family members to sit together without social distancing; however, 6-foot social distancing must still be maintained between different groups of families or friends;
- A new section was added to the Guidelines to address seacoast beaches, which are required to maintain 6-foot social distancing between groups. Some additional restrictions apply, and towns and NH State Parks may adopt more specific guidelines.
There were no other changes made to the Guidelines. So, the requirement to take employee temperatures, screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms, and the screening questions remain the same. Likewise, the quarantine and isolation requirements remain the same. You can review these requirements and others in the Guidelines (available here). The post-travel quarantine requirement remains the same, and bears emphasis as we have received a number of questions about it:
- General rule: Employees who travel outside of New England must quarantine for 14 days after returning to New Hampshire.
- Essential travel exception: Employees who travel outside of New England for “essential travel” do not have to quarantine upon return, assuming they are asymptomatic. Essential travel “includes travel for personal safety, medical care, care of others, parental shared custody, for food, beverage or medication or for work. Employees who travel outside of the New England states for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on this exemption.” The Business FAQs (available here) posted by the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs provide the following clarification: “‘essential travel for food, beverages’ means if someone has to travel just over the border of one of the New England states to obtain food or beverages, they can do that. However, they cannot travel over the border to go to a restaurant or bar to eat or drink. They can go over the border to pick up take-out items or go to a store or facility that sells groceries and/or beverages. With respect to ‘essential travel for … medication,’ that travel may be farther than just over the border into a neighboring non-New England state and may include travel to either a medical facility, drug store, or other type of therapeutic facility to acquire medication.”
- Essential employee exception: Although exceptions “are not recommended and should not be standard practice,” an exception to the post-travel quarantine may be made when necessary for an employee that works in a critical infrastructure sector (see the 16 critical infrastructure sectors here) when all of the following are true (quoting from the NH DHHS Travel Guidance (available here)):
- The employee is not exhibiting any signs or symptoms of COVID-19;
- The employee is not a household contact to a confirmed case of COVID-19;
- The employee is deemed essential to the functioning of the business and substantial business impact would be experienced if the employee does not work in person;
- The employee cannot conduct essential functions remotely;
- There is no replacement personnel for the employee; . . .
- The employee self-quarantines for all other purposes other than reporting to work; and
- The employee wears a mask, maintains at least 6 feet of separation from other employees and customers, and participates in daily health screening while at work or other public locations as outlined in CDC guidance.
We hope you and your organizations are all faring well as we pass the milestone of 200 days (since March 13) of the pandemic in New Hampshire.