Editor's note: While the COVID-19 pandemic remains of urgent concern The Rochester Voice will update the Greater Rochester area of all developments in this space.
As evidence mounts of community-spread transmission of COVID-19 in New Hampshire, the state's epidemiologist on Wednesday continued to re-emphasized that the public has to step up to the plate to help combat the pandemic.
"The state has put into place measures to help prevent larger-scale transmission at schools and larger gatherings. However, it is critical for everybody to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and practice social distancing," state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said.
As of today there are 39 known coronavirus cases in the state of New Hampshire. None have been reported in Rochester or Strafford County.
Meanwhile, Market Basket is taking steps to protect seniors who are most at risk by instituting "seniors only" shopping hours on Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30-7 a.m. As of today it was the only Rochester supermarket with such scheduling.
Other stores are also adjusting their schedules. Beginning today Home Depot will close at 6 p.m. to enable workers to better clean and sanitize the store, according to a statement sent by store officials.
In addition Atlantic Broadband has closed its front-counter service at its Rochester facility effective today. Customers can make payments by phone and resolve other issues at 888-536-9600.
To further minimize person-to-person contact, Rochester Police announced on Wednesday they will begin utilizing a new Online Crime Reporting Program, https://rochesterpd.org/online-crime-report/, to better serve the needs of the Community and the Police Department.
"Police are asking that you utilize this new online crime reporting program to report non-emergency incidents," a department statement notes. "Using this online citizen police report system allows you to submit a report immediately and print a copy of the police report for free."
The system is designed to handle nonemergency calls like Property Damage, Lost Property, Telephone Harassment and Thefts.
For emergencies call emergency dispatch line at 603-330-7128 or 911.
Police also announced on Wednesday that regularly scheduled Teen Night for April and May are canceled.
The news wasn't all bad on Wednesday however, as the governor signed an emergency order allowing for take-out or delivery of beer or wine from all restaurants, diners, bars, saloons, private clubs or any other establishment that have both a restaurant and on-site liquor license.
"We appreciate the sacrifices many have made throughout COVID-19 developments," said Gov. Chris Sununu. "This emergency order will allow for patrons to also order beer and wine from their favorite restaurants when ordering pickup or delivery."
The delivered booze can include up to a 12 pack of beer or 1.5 liters of wine.
Two other emergency orders allow for temporary modification of data and privacy governance plans that will give school districts more flexibility for remote learning tools and temporary expansion of access to Telehealth Services to protect the public and health care providers.
Anyone with questions about the crisis and COVID-19 can call the Granite United Way-operated 211 NH information line. The info center has already fielded 5,000 in the past few days, more calls than they typically receive in a month.
The state's DMV has also transitioned to online and phone services starting today with limited appointments-only services beginning Monday. All driver license road exams are canceled until April 3.
Starting Friday, customers can call (603) 227-4000 to schedule an appointment. Customers should take advantage of the DMV's online services, including online driver license renewal, ID renewals, and online ticket pay at www.nh.gov/dmv.
NH DMV 20-day plates as well as NH authorized dealer 20-day plates, issued on or after February 26, 2020 have been given an automatic extension through April 30, 2020. These extensions do not apply to vehicle registration renewals. Please visit your town website for vehicle registration renewal options.
NH DMV non-commercial driver licenses and non-driver identification cards that are expired or set to expire between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 are eligible for a 6-month extension. Customers should take advantage of this option by calling (603) 227-4020. An applicable renewal fee will be due at the time of the call. To learn more about 6-month license extensions, please go to www.nh.gov/dmv.
This story may be updated