Portsmouth, NH Restaurants Can Return to 100% Capacity
Editor's Note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England radio personality and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences. Kimberley Haas is the managing news editor of seacoastcurrent.com.
Restaurant owners of Portsmouth, rejoice!
On Tuesday morning, the official word was delivered through the distribution of a memo from City Health Officer Kim McNamara: Food service facilities may return to normal capacity.
McNamara's memo said, in part:
"I am happy to report that yesterday, after a sustained decline since May 24th in Covid-19 percent positivity and transmission rates, Rockingham County achieved a 0.9% positivity. Therefore, indoor seating in Portsmouth food service facilities may return to normal capacity, which must still comply with all applicable codes."
This is the perfect time of year for the restaurants to fully reopen again.
Once schools let out, Portsmouth is expected to be jam-packed with people who want to escape their surroundings and explore the historic city.
As if restauranteurs in the city needed more good news, the current stifling heatwave will begin to loosen its grip as the weekend draws near.
Right now, highs are predicted to be in the low 70s soon.
This is a big deal for Portsmouth to get here.
I applaud all the Portsmouth restaurants for being steadfast in following the protocols of the last 15 months.
First, the doors were closed.
Then, take-out only with social distancing floor markers and plexiglass dividers.
Then reduced capacity with table and chair requirements, as well as measurements that were enough to give a geometry major a minor headache.
As someone who frequently enjoys a frosty beverage while I'm out running errands, it drove me batty to take up two seats at a bar, when it's only me sitting there? It was frustrating for couples waiting to be seated and downright awkward for yours truly.
Those days are gone! May they never return.
Masks: McNamara said officials at the NH Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to recommend masks and social distancing as measures that should be kept in place to maintain safer practices.
Masks will no longer be required in Portsmouth under a measure approved Monday night by the city council. The motion to rescind the mask ordinance passed unanimously.
McNamara said local community vaccination timelines for the youngest members of the city's workforce will not be fully completed until July 1.
"Therefore, if you employ any of these younger workers, please either delay their start of employment until two weeks after they have received their second dose of vaccine, or do not ease seating distance and mask use until that time, or find other means of offering enhanced protection until they achieve their full immunity," McNamara wrote.
According to CDC officials, there have been 594,802 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19.