HAMPTON BEACH, NH (CBS) – New Hampshire beaches re-opened to sunbathing and other activities, bringing a flood of foot traffic and business to the waterfront.
“Given that it’s 85 degrees out – I’m sure this is welcomed,” said the Republican Governor Chris Sununu.
The state is still limiting the number of people on the beaches and is urging people to socially distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The best thing you can do is be outdoors with the fresh air,” said one New Hampshire resident.
Look at this line for a patio table at Bernie’s in Hampton Beach, NH! Gov. Sununu lifted COVID-19 restrictions at beaches and will expand indoor dining 6/15.
— Tiffany Chan (@TiffanyChanWBZ) June 6, 2020
The foot traffic is attracting major business to the restaurants along the waterfront.
“It’s a relief because for small business owners, this is how we pay our bills,” said Jamie Giorgio, the Director of Operations at Bernie’s Beach Bar.
Outdoor dining has been allowed at New Hampshire restaurants since May 18. Beginning on June 15, restaurants in northern New Hampshire can reopen dining rooms fully with tables six feet apart. Governor Sununu’s plan will restrict restaurants bordering Massachusetts, allowing indoor dining to resume at half capacity.
“One of the fears, if I may, is that folks in the higher impacted areas, specifically in Massachusetts will come over the border to use our restaurants as an indoor capacity because they simply don’t have that option yet,” said Gov. Sununu.
This comes as welcomed news for restaurant owners in New Hampshire starving for business heading into the summer season.
“It’s the people’s right,” said Giorgio. “If they want to go out and have a drink, eat and dine, they should be able to do that.”
The only thing harder to find than a parking spot is an open patio table overlooking the ocean. It’s a far stretch from the Bay State, which could allow for outdoor dining beginning Monday, June 8th.
“I’m glad I don’t live in Massachusetts,” said one New Hampshire resident.