State liquor store employees join ranks of essential workers on 'hero pay'

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Liquor outlets retail store workers can expect a 10 percent raise increase during the crisis. (Rochester Voice file photo)

CONCORD - Gov. Chris Sununu issued Emergency Order #20 on Tuesday enhancing on-site state liquor store employees' salaries by 10 percent during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The order declares that whereas the state liquor stores are the only purveyors of spirits, keeping them open takes away the need for residents to seek spirits in other states, thereby lessening the risk of coronavirus spread.

It also notes that many who carry the COVID-19 virus show no symptoms so are less likely to self-quarantine, and their presence in the store puts cashiers and other personnel at greater risk of contracting the virus.

The salary increase is similar to those many other public and private entities are either considering or have already implemented. The increase will be 10 percent of their hourly salary.

It does not apply to New Hampshire Liquor Commission employees who do not work in a retail store.

And workers there could be on "hero pay" for several months. In fact a new study from the Institute for Health Metrics, working out of the University of Washington, projects that New Hampshire will hit its infection apex on April 21 with more than 1,000 people in state hospitals and 11 deaths in one day.

On Tuesday state health officials announced 53 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the number of diagnosed cases to 367.

The new cases are 31 adult females, 21 adult males, and 1 male under the age of 18 years. The new cases reside in Rockingham (21), Hillsborough County other than Manchester and Nashua (7), Strafford (6), Merrimack (5), Carroll (2), Cheshire (1), and Sullivan (1) counties, and in the cities of Manchester (5) and Nashua (5).

Four of the new cases were hospitalized for their illness; thus far, 49 (13%) of the 367 positive cases have been hospitalized.

Twenty-four of the new cases have no identified risk factors, meaning community based infections continue to rise. Most of the remaining cases have either had travel to domestic or international locations or have had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

More information on NH cases:

Persons with COVID-191 367

Recovered 56 (15%)

Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 3 (>1%)

Total Current COVID-19 Cases 308 Persons Who Have Been Hospitalized for COVID-19 49 (13%)

Persons Being Monitored in NH (approximate point in time) 1,250

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