FILE - NH Benjamin Chan, Annie Kuster, Chris Pappas, Chris Sununu 3-2-2020

Dr. Benjamin Chan (left), New Hampshire's state epidemiologist, announces the state's first case of the new COVID-19 virus on March 2, 2020, in Concord, N.H. Looking on are U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster (second from left), U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (second from right), and Gov. Chris Sununu.

(The Center Square) – New Hampshire’s Governor’s Office of Emergency Relief and Economic Recovery is allocating $40 million to the state’s cities and towns from the federal CARES Act, Gov. Chris Sununu said Monday.

The money will used to cover COVID-19 related expenses that occurred between March 1 and August 31 of this year, Sununu said.

“These funds will help bridge the gap between what towns have incurred and what FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will ultimately cover,” Sununu said. “It’s important to note that these funds cannot and are not designed to fill and backfill revenue shortfalls but simply provide relief so cities and towns are not facing the burden of COVID-19 costs.”

The funds can be used for municipal building cleanings and modifications, increased social services, new telework costs and child care for first responders.

Sununu also announced that local and state full-time first responders, which includes police officers, emergency medical technicians and firefighters, will be receiving an additional $300 a week in stipends. Part-time first responders will receive an extra $150 per week. The stipend will be provided until June 30.

“Our police, fire, and EMS services risk their lives every day when they leave their house,” Sununu said. “The risk is even more prevalent as we continue to grow through this COVID-19 crisis.

The $25 million will come from the CARES Act and eligibility began Monday, the governor said.

The state has opened a “mask portal” that supplies businesses with personal protective equipment. On Friday, Sununu announced his “Stay-At-Home Order 2.0” that is allowing businesses to reopen in phases. Any business that is eligible to reopen can get the masks for free, Sununu said.

“Over the weekend over 2,100 businesses have made requests and the state, frankly, intends to fill all of them” Sununu said. “So, starting next week, businesses that apply and are approved will be able to pick up their shipment of masks at their assigned DMV locations across the state.”

State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan reported no new deaths from coronavirus on Monday and 72 new cases. Eighty-six New Hampshire residents have died from the virus and 2,588 cases have been reported. Chan said 1,017 have recovered.

With a vaccine still months away, Chan said, “We can safely say we will be dealing with COVID-19 for many more weeks and many more months, and we still need to find a way to live with this virus while taking the appropriate precautions to protect others in our community, especially those who are more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.”