CARL RUSSO/staff photoJoe Faro, left, founder of Tuscan Brands in Salem talks to New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu during an economic development breakfast last week at Castleton in Salem and hosted by the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce
WINDHAM — Gov. Chris Sununu spoke July 16 at the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce’s first event since March, when the coronavirus pandemic caused a shutdown of the economy and a postponement of most large gatherings.
Sununu’s speech focused on the local, state, and national response to COVID-19, as well as the changes and precautions needed to keep the pandemic from worsening in the state and the region.
Those precautions were evident at the breakfast of 150 attendees in the space that can accommodate 500. People were asked to wear masks when not eating. Chairs placed around tables were more than 6 feet apart.
Some event sponsors also donated pandemic-themed swag, like KN95 face masks from Foxx Life Sciences, a lab equipment manufacturer in Salem, and hand sanitizer from Evolve Salon Systems, a high-end hair product manufacturer in Derry.
Sununu cautioned people about the return to business as the number of coronavirus cases continues to spike in other areas of the country. He urged the crowd to stay vigilant and continue practicing distancing and wearing masks.
He said going back to school or to the office can be concerning for many.
“These things scare me and they should scare you,” he said. “But if we stay disciplined, and we do it the right way, and take extra precautions — it can be managed. Everything can be managed.”
He explained that certain business restrictions — like the 50% capacity in restaurants in the southern tier of the state — are going to continue for a while to prevent a spike in the number of coronavirus cases. However, he said he will continue looking at the data and reverse course if needed.
He highlighted programs, such as the Main Street Relief Fund, which has given out more than $350 million in grants across the state. Grants awarded have averaged about $60,000, according to the governor.