(The Center Square) – Gov. Chris Sununu is calling the state's workforce back to their offices as New Hampshire continues to reopen its economy.
Sununu said he is requiring any state employees who are still working remotely to return to their offices beginning May 10. The Republican governor closed the statehouse and Sent most employees home in March 2020 as part of the state's efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.
“We expect to be fully operational and in-person with buildings open to the public for business and one-on-one services," Sununu said at a Thursday briefing.
State employees won't be required to wear masks, Sununu said, but departments won't prevent them from wearing a face covering if they feel comfortable.
He said many employees have already returned to state offices, but others still working remotely have been given three weeks notice about the impending return.
The push to get state workers back into government offices comes as New Hampshire continues to reopen its economy amid declining COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
On Monday, the state reported 161 COVID-19 infections and no deaths, and a seven-day average of new cases at 287. There were more than 1,900 active infections on Monday and about 80 people in the hospital with the virus.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire has administered more than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and more than 50% of the state's 1.3 million residents have received at least one dose, according to the state's daily vaccine distribution update.
Beth Daley, chief of the state's Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, said "getting vaccinated will help keep you at work or in school, it prevents you from having to quarantine after an exposure and it will help to protect the people around you who may be more vulnerable."
While Sununu said his administration is encouraging people to get vaccinated, he won't be requiring them to do so as a condition of employment or access to public buildings.
"I'm very hesitant about requiring people to prove they've been vaccinated," he said Thursday. "We shouldn't be going down the path of vaccine passports, or anything of that nature."