CONCORD, N.H. — Gov. Chris Sununu ordered that all non-essential New Hampshire businesses be closed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, commonly called COVID-19.

He also extended the closure of New Hampshire's schools through May 4.

The stay-at-home order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, in which all non-essential businesses must close.

This is not an order to stay in place, Sununu clarified. Essential businesses and any transportation can continue, he said. People can still leave their houses to get fresh air, exercise and run essential errands however, the state beaches will close because of this order, he said.

He is encouraging people to stay at home as much as possible to contain the spread of the virus.

"The worst may still be ahead of us," Sununu said. "It will take sacrifice, but New Hampshire is resilient, and we will get through it."

Businesses deemed essential include grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and gas stations. Sununu encouraged businesses to reach out to the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs with questions.

This is in line with neighboring states. Massachusetts residents are under similar orders as of Tuesday afternoon, and Vermont's stay at home order went into effect Wednesday. 

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