PLUS: State to sell COVID-19 tests at liquor stores
(The Center Square) – New Hampshire lawmakers are considering bills to prevent local governments from imposing mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions, but health groups say the move would “prolong the pandemic.”
A Republican-backed proposal, which was heard by the House Health and Human Services Oversight Committee on Tuesday, would block cities and towns from setting mask requirements for schools and businesses and restrict private employers from imposing vaccine mandates or requiring proof of vaccination from customers.
Rep. Leah Cushman, R-Weare, a cosponsor of the proposal, told the committee that the move would also “prevent employers from refusing employment to anyone for failure to produce evidence of COVID-19 vaccination” and also “prevent discrimination in public accommodations.”
“So this would also include any public facing businesses,” Cushman testified. “They can’t keep people out based on vaccination status.”
But the proposal is strongly opposed by public health groups, health care unions and others which say it would prevent cities and towns, schools, hospitals and private employers from taking preventative measures to protect the public from COVID-19 and other highly infectious diseases.
“The decision to require their employees to be vaccinated was done to ensure the health and safety of their patients, their workforce and their communities,” Paula Minihan, a lobbyist for the New Hampshire Hospital Association, testified.
“They have seen firsthand the devastating impact that COVID-19 can have on their patients, especially those that are unvaccinated.”
Kate Frey, vice president of advocacy for the nonprofit policy group New Futures – which also opposes the measure – said the state government shouldn’t be restricting schools, cities and towns or businesses from making decisions to protect the health and safety of their employees and patrons … READ MORE.
State to sell COVID-19 tests at liquor stores
By Christian Wade | The Center Square contributor Jan 31, 2022
(The Center Square) – New Hampshire has expanded access to rapid COVID-19 tests by making them available at many retail stores and mailing them directly to residents, and will soon be offering the kits at another location: state liquor stores.
A proposal approved by the Executive Council authorizes the state Department of Health and Human Services to use $12 million in federal pandemic aid to purchase 1 million at-home COVID-19 tests and sell them at liquor stores. The kits will be sold for $17 per single test, including an administrative fee, and will be covered by insurance.
Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said selling test kits at liquor stores will help reach more people as the state continues to battle a winter surge of infections.
She said nationwide supply chain issues have made it difficult for many Granite Staters to find rapid COVID-19 tests at local pharmacies and other retail outlets.
“With the continued increase in community spread of COVID-19 in New Hampshire, rapid and early detection is important to reduce the spread of disease throughout New Hampshire, limit the strain on our medical care system, and keep schools and businesses open,” Shibinette wrote to lawmakers … READ MORE.