After nearly 15 months, New Hampshire's state of emergency brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will end on Friday night.

Declared for the first time on March 13, 2020, to give the state the ability to allocate funds more easily, Gov. Chris Sununu said at Thursday's COVID-19 press briefing that the state is nearly at the end of the pandemic, and a state of emergency is no longer needed.

"We’re kind of at the precipice if you will, at the end of the tunnel. We still have a bit to manage to be sure. Every day we’re vaccinating more people," Sununu said. "Our cases are dropping and we have fewer and fewer people hospitalized and facing the potential of death due to COVID."

New Hampshire will be under a "public health incident" which he said will allow the state's Department of Health and Human Service to employ staff and volunteers as needed. It also provides flexibility and liability protections for health care providers.

How will the end of the public emergency affect the average person?

"The vast majority of citizens won’t even know that the state of emergency has moved on," Sununu said. "I don't want to say it's just a matter of paperwork, it's a very significant document to be sure, but the team has designed it so it's going to be incredibly smooth."

State agencies won't have the ability to make unilateral decisions as they go back to pre-pandemic processes.

"Some things just we had great flexibility and we just don’t have that anymore. We
have to go back to more of a traditional process, which is the right thing to do," Sununu said.

Relief programs for both renters and landlords were put into place at the start of the pandemic and no one should be facing eviction, he said.

Sununu also said that he will be ending the weekly coronavirus briefings after next Thursday, except in special circumstances. He became emotional when talking about having to be governor through the pandemic as well as protests and election issues.

"It was a really tough time and I sincerely, sincerely mean it. I hope no Governor ever has to go through this. I really mean that and it was really hard for a year," Sununu said. "There were a lot of sacrifices made."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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