Citizen Response Task Force

In May, to help the City quickly and safely respond to the Governor's guidelines for reopening, in Portsmouth, Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine and Councilor Deaglan McEachern proposed the formation of the Portsmouth Citizen Response Task Force. The Citizen Task Force was selected and their first meeting was June 9

The Task Force of nineteen members selected by the Mayor include representatives of the business community, restaurant owners and managers, non-profit organizations from the arts community and health services, citizens, members of the Economic Development Commission, health care professionals, and city staff members including the City Manager and Health Officer. The committee met for the first time June 9, reviewed the Task Force guidelines and a draft framework and selected co-chairs.

There are three subcommittees:

  • Streets 
  • Foundry/Bridge St. Popup 
  • Health 

Please click here for more background and a timeline of the Task Force's formation.

To contact the Citizen Response Task Force, please email 


Citizen's Task Force

City Hall closed to the public on March 16, but City services continued online while all of the municipal departments kept tabs on the health of every local sector of residents and businesses, streamlining the process for restaurants to establish outdoor dining (and facilitate pickup for takeout orders). In total more than 180 permits for dining and expanded use of public spaces were approved. In the 7 weeks since the CRTF was formed, the City Planning and permitting process, DPW (who secured concrete barriers at no charge from Severino Trucking Co.) and the committee worked with 21 restaurant owners to convert parking spaces into dining spaces.

The Task Force formed two subcommittees to look at 1) how Downtown Streets might be used for dining and 2) whether the idea of using the roof of the Foundry Place Garage as a performance/restaurant space would work. The Foundry Place subcommittee worked with City departments including DPW engineers and determined a better location for the PopUp venue was the Bridge Street parking lot. Once the design and operations plans meet all permitting requirements from the City’s Health, Building Inspection, Fire and Legal Departments, the new PopUp NH venue will open under strict physical-distancing and other health precautions.

So far, the City has spent about half of the $100,000 allocated by the City Council to implement Task Force recommendations. The City has paid about $45,000 directly to the suppliers of the generators, fencing, porta-potties (including a cleaning and maintenance plan for the duration of the rentals) and to create the water/sewer/wastewater infrastructure to serve the Bridge Street Lot popup. No City monies have gone, or can go, to any of the project collaborators. The plan is that the City will use Federal CARES Act funds for the expenses, so spending is strictly limited in accordance with what FEMA will reimburse under the CARES Act. The balance of the City Council-designated funds remain in reserve for future City projects related to sustaining Portsmouth businesses as the impact of the pandemic is felt.

The CRTF has now formed a third subcommittee to advise the City Council on health matters related to the pandemic, such as the wearing of face coverings and tracking COVID-19 data specific to the Seacoast. The CRTF will be reviewing other related opportunities to assist the City Council for the remainder of their service, through December 2020.

Citizen's Response Task Force Materials


FAQs on Daily Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic PDF (November 12, 2020)

FAQs on Daily Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic (webpage)

FAQs on Ventilation (webpage)

FAQs on Testing PDF (November 12, 2020)

FAQs on Testing (webpage)

COVID-19 & Mask Facts PDF (July 29, 2020)

COVID-19 & Mask Facts (webpage)

Meeting Notes:

CRTF Meeting Materials (November 18, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (November 10, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (November 4, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (October 28, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (October 21, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (October 14, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (October 7, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (September 30, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (September 23, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (September 16, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Minutes (August 26, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (August 26, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (August 19, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (August 12, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (August 5, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (July 29, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (July 22, 2020) including July 15 Minutes

CRTF Meeting Materials (July 15, 2020) including July 8 Minutes

CRTF Meeting Materials (July 8, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (July 1, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (June 24, 2020)

CRTF Meeting Materials (June 17, 2020)

Minutes from CRTF Meeting June 17, 2020

Pop-Up Project Subcommittee Materials

Health Subcommittee Materials

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (November 24, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (November 17, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (November 16, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (November 10, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (November 9, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (November 3, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (November 3, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (October 26, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (October 26, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (October 20, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (October 19, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (October 13, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (October 12, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (October 6, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (October 5, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (September 29, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (September 29, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (September 22, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (September 22, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (September 15, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (September 15, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (September 8, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (September 7, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (September 1, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (August 31, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (August 24, 2020)

Health Subcommittee FAQs on Testing (August 24, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (August 17, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (August 18, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (August 11, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Notes (August 11, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting Materials (Aug 4 Meeting Notes & Dashboard)

Letter to the Governor in Support of City Council Urging Mask Mandate

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (July 29, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Memo on COVID-19 & Mask FAQs (July 29, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting (July 21, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Memo on Mask Wearing (July 21, 2020)

Regional COVID-19 Dashboard (July 21, 2020)

Health Subcommittee Meeting (July 9, 2020)



Restaurants offering takeout and/or approved for outdoor and/or indoor dining, click here.

For Health Department details on Outdoor & Indoor guidelines/permits as necessary, click here.


When the Governor announced guidelines for the opening of outdoor dining starting May 18 a City Department Work Group identified three subgroups of restaurants and streamlined the permitting process:

  • Restaurants already permitted for outdoor dining should submit their outdoor seating arrangements and compliance with the new public health guidelines checklist to the Health Department. Click here for details.
  • Restaurants seeking to offer outdoor dining on private property not already permitted must receive a Building Permit from the Building Inspection. This one permit incorporates both Fire and Health Department review, the checklist and outdoor seating arrangement plan. For the Viewpoint portal application, click here. 
  • Public Realm Spaces for Restaurants – Concepts for use of public spaces are being advanced in conjunction with Fire, Police, Building, Planning and DP.  Public realm requests will be received through City’s Viewpermit system  (Sidewalk Café Application), pending additional Task Force decision-making.  Restaurants and retail can go ahead and submit, approvals to follow. The use of these spaces is subject to City area service agreement insurance details and Health Department requirements for physical distancing.

Restaurants already holding a liquor license need only advise the Liquor Commission, via email to, that they will be applying that license to their outdoor extensions. For FAQs and additional information, click here. 


With the Governor's order allowing, starting June 15, 2020, restaurants to offer indoor dining at 50% occupancy in Rockingham County (and appropriate 6-foot physical distancing), the following process is now in place:

Table spacing (both indoors and outdoors) should be maintained so people sitting at adjacent tables are more than six feet apart and servers should be able to maintain social distancing while interacting with tables. Seating guidelines showing different table styles and arrangements are posted in the Health Department web page, here. To streamline the process, prior to re-opening, all establishments must submit a completed re-opening Checklist and adjusted seating floor plans for approval, electronically via Viewpoint. (Select Covid-19 Reduced Indoor Seating Approval from the Health Department page on Viewpoint.)

NH Governor's Guidance on Performing Arts Venues