By John Suayan | The Center Square
User review platform Yelp is reporting that about 300 businesses in New Hampshire shuttered their doors permanently since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
San Francisco-based Yelp recently published a report indicating 449 New Hampshire businesses temporarily or permanently closed between March 1 and July 10, with 280 of those businesses classified as permanently closed based on the most recent data available, WMUR reported.
Southern New Hampshire is home to about 86 businesses that went out of business because of the coronavirus. Lorna Colquhoun, communications director for the state Division of Economic Development, told WMUR the global public health crisis dealt New Hampshire’s tourism industry a big blow.
“The tourism industry is strongly affected, even as the number of visitors coming here, given the situation, is high,” Colquhoun told the station. “To that end, the department’s priority is working with the tourism industry to create the revenue streams needed to for these businesses to remain open, while creating a safe environment and confidence to visitors who come here for their summer vacations and spend their money at our attractions, lodging and restaurants, and the local communities.”
A recent poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center revealed a hint of consumer confidence as 25 percent of respondents believe the economy is headed for a rebound.
But still, there is a long way to go.
“We’re getting hit pretty hard in New Hampshire on the economic side of this virus,” Russ Thibeault, president of Applied Economic Research told WMUR. “Ironically, the virus is under control, but our economy is still suffering.”
New Hampshire researcher warns that unemployment spike leading to rise in those lacking health insurance
An epidemiologist and a public health researcher at The Dartmouth Institute warns that the number of uninsured in New Hampshire could continue to rise.
Elliott Fisher said while a recent report from the National Center for Coverage Innovation indicated an 8 percent increase in the figure, the data used was current up to almost four months ago.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused tens of thousands in the Granite State to lose their jobs, and along with them, their health insurance coverage.
New Hampshire Business Review reported that 96,000 people, or 11 percent of the state’s population, are uninsured. In 2018, it was just 3 percent.
Many New Hampshire residents’ now-defunct coverage was through their employer, with the state having experienced a 40 percent jump among those ages 18 to 65.
“It’s a big jump,” Fisher told New Hampshire Business Review. “It’s an awful picture.”
Fisher said New Hampshire as actually better off than most states, especially those at the mercy of resurging coronavirus infections.
Fisher said minorities and low-income communities will comprise much of that figure, pointing to the massive layoffs in the food-service industry.
“As with everything else in the United States, when things go wrong, the people who suffer are low-income people and racial minorities because of centuries of systemic racism,” he said. “The burden of a loss of employment and loss of insurance is going to fall squarely on the poor.”
Fisher added that there are ways for people to remain insured even without a job. He listed COBRA as a top option.