Chamber Update Letter: Reopening, Main Street Relief & More

Reopening, Main Street Relief & More

A note from GMC CEO & President, Michael Skelton


Dear Chamber Members,

The last few weeks have seen continued progress in the “reopening” of various sectors of the economy (more on that below) and state officials are cautiously optimistic that the overall trendlines for the slowing spread of COVID-19 in New Hampshire are positive. While this is good news, we know many challenges lie ahead. We do not know yet how long the road to recovery for our business community will be and we must remain vigilant against a resurgence of the virus in the months ahead.

The last two weeks have brought to the forefront another pressing challenge – an overdue and necessary conversation across our nation and in our communities to ensure all citizens, regardless of race, are treated with dignity, respect, and equal justice.

While I believe our community and state strives to be welcoming, caring, and accessible to all, it is important for us to acknowledge that we are not perfect. This moment calls for us, as responsible citizens and business leaders, to seek opportunities and conversations that can help us grow and see new perspectives and inequities in our society that may not have been previously known or familiar to us.

As a Chamber, we are used to offering solutions to the challenges facing our community. However, in this instance, it is important for us to listen first. We must listen to those in our community who have experiences we can learn from and can deepen our understanding. Moving forward, the Chamber will seek, as we do with all challenges, to convene, facilitate, and support important conversations among key stakeholders that can guide our community towards positive outcomes.

Stay-At-Home Order and Reopening Taskforce Update

Governor Sununu has provided a series of important updates recently related to the current Stay-At-Home order and reopening taskforce recommendations.

  • The Governor intends to let the current Stay-At-Home order expire on June 15th and replace it with an “advisory.” We expect this advisory to encourage citizens to remain home when possible, to remain vigilant with social distancing protocols, and to encourage businesses to continue to allow remote work flexibility where possible.
  • The Governor noted that while the Stay-At-Home order will expire on June 15th, the State of Emergency Order for COVID-19 will remain in place indefinitely. There is an extensive list of emergency orders now in place tied to State of Emergency remaining in effect.
  • Also recently announced were a series of updates to the current Stay-At-Home 2.0 order that continued to “flex” open parts of the economy. Notably, indoor dining can resume on June 15th at 50% in Hillsborough County. Click here to view a rundown, organized by date through June, of guidance documents that cover attractions, beaches, lodging, some events, camps and more.
  • The State’s “Universal Guidelines” continue to be the base-level practices and standards that all businesses and organizations should plan to incorporate into their operations going forward. In conversations with State officials the Chamber has advocated for clarifications and revisions to these guidelines so businesses can more effectively implement them. We understand this is a focus of the reopening taskforce in the coming days and will share updates as the guidelines are revised.

State of NH Main Street Relief Fund Update

The grant application filing period for the Main Street Relief Fund is open and eligible businesses must file their final grant application by 11:59 PM this Friday June 12th. Please note – in order to be eligible, businesses must have previously submitted a prequalification request. Click here for the overview of the program and details on eligibility and timeline.

Portal to Complete Final Grant Submission for Main Street Relief Fund

Citizen of the Year Revealed – Palace Theatre CEO Peter Ramsey!

The Chamber was excited and honored to announce last week that Peter Ramsey, President & CEO of the Palace Theatres, is the 2020 Citizen of the Year! Click here to read more about Peter and his achievements on our blog and be sure to check out the excellent profile in this past Sunday’s Union Leader: “Palace Theatre will rise again under the Citizen of the Year.”

Peter’s selection will be honored at the first ever virtual Citizen of the Year Celebration, presented by Eastern Bank, on July 15th at 6:30 PM!

Click here to visit the event page and register for the watch party link. You can also engage with and support this event in a variety of ways, including purchasing a backstage pass for the event and a variety of sponsorship options. Engaging with the event in these ways not only supports the Chamber and our work on behalf of the business community, but also will support the Palace Theatres as the event will include an opportunity to help the organization as they work towards reopening.

Leadership Greater Manchester – Apply or Nominate Someone to the Class of 2021

Now more than ever, emerging community leaders are needed to help lead and guide our community through recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and the many challenges and opportunities facing us. Leadership Greater Manchester is the best opportunity to get involved in our community’s future.

Given the business interruptions created by COVID-19 and Stay-at-Home order, we have extended the application period and are conducting rolling virtual applications currently. We are seeing strong demand for participation again this year and encourage all those are interested to apply!

Our LGM team is developing a great plan for the upcoming class year given the unique circumstances we are in. Class days will be planned with social distancing guidelines and practices in mind and virtual sessions with class members have already proven to be a success with the current class and may be used to augment and enhance the upcoming class year. Rest assured, the LGM experience will continue to be one of the best decisions an applicant will ever make

If you are interested, apply today or refer a colleague or friend to the program who you believe would be a good fit – you or they won’t regret it.

My best, be well, and keep moving forward –


Mike Skelton, President & CEO, GMC