- TESTING: The NH Department of Health & Human Services is now coordinating COVID-19 testing appointments at several testing clinics established throughout the state, for anyone who calls. That testing coordinating office phone number is 603-271-5980. CVS on Lafayette Road in Hampton is now also accepting appointments for testing. For FAQs about testing in New Hampshire, click here. In addition, the Rite-Aid at 1390 Lafayette Road in Portsmouth is providing free by-appointment testing for COVID-19 to anyone age 18 or over. For more information, click here.
- Portsmouth Regional Hospital offers a Coronavirus Resource Hub on its website.
- ConvenientMD offers a Virtual Care portal and reminds residents they still provide non-COVID-19 emergency care, with strict guidelines for keeping all patients safe.
- 2-1-1 for State of New Hampshire guidance and answers COVID-19 related questions.
- Keep Wearing Cloth Face Masks The City Health Officer also reminds everyone to wear cloth face masks in public. Reserve medical grade PPE for healthcare workers and first-responders. The NH State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan issued a formal statement this week, urging citizens to wear cloth face masks whenever they are out in public, and where there is risk of transmitting the virus, even when there are no symptoms, in homes and offices. to Directions for making your own face mask in 45 seconds, here. A few additional recommendations, where possible, on cloth facemasks. They should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;·
- Be secured with ties or ear loops;
- Include multiple layers of fabric, preferably a tight weave material;
- Allow for breathing without restriction; and
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
- Update on Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Centers and Congregate Housing -- From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials, including Portsmouth’s, have kept close track of the health of the elderly and health-compromised who live in nursing homes, assisted living centers and congregate housing. In Portsmouth, all of the local facilities moved quickly to take proactive steps to prevent infection. The City Health Officer and her team, and the Fire and Police Departments have been working with the facilities to monitor their health and to make sure those populations and the staff who serve them have the PPE they need. Several deliveries of supplies, including the facemask strap-extenders made by the Portsmouth Public Library on their 3D printers, have been distributed to city and regional facilities. The weekly Face Mask Drives also generate donations supplied to seniors and others who need them. So far, this intensive effort has paid off. The City Health Officer reminds everyone of the “rules” for the public interacting with friends and family in these facilities, to keep them safe:
- NO PERSONAL VISITS! Facilities with vulnerable residents are currently closed to outside visitors. Consider those you might visit who are also vulnerable but live on their own to be ‘off-limits’ as well. But check on them with a call, wave through the window or a note.
- Physical distancing is still the best solution to avoid the spread of the virus. Practice the basics, especially around anyone who is in contact with vulnerable populations.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
- Do not go out if you have a fever or are not feeling well
The VA Medical Center in Manchester urges veterans to use the VA’s online tools for telehealth appointments, prescription needs, questions and automated text messages. As with all doctors’ appointments, call first. Click here for the VA’s online patient portal. There’s also a VideoConnect app. For more information on that, click here For more general COVID-19-related information, click here.
Employment security: File for unemployment online or by calling the hotline at 603-271-7700. Your application appointment is based on the first letter of your last name. There are still delays in processing, but you should start seeing a check 9 days after filing. You must file weekly to receive weekly benefits.
- The CARES Act supplements your unemployment pay with a $600 per week benefit.
- Check out the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth’s COVID-19 emergency Job Board.
Help for small businesses, including non-profits: Click here to register for Chamber Chat Live, Friday May 1 at 1 pm (produced by the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth) to hear from NH Congressional offices about the details in the new stimulus/relief program passed last week.
For a Small Business Guide to the CARES Act relief program, click here.
The City’s Economic Development Department webpage dedicated to COVID-19 response information and resources covers Federal, State and local government programs, organizations and experts with answers to frequently asked questions about making it through and planning for recovery, and highlights webinars that drill down into very specific concerns. Visit the page frequently for updates.
For information about business assistance resources, the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth continues to support small businesses as they navigate through the challenges and resources of the COVID-19 disruption to our economy. New information is added daily:
Non-profits will find useful information from the NH Community Development Finance Authority . The Business Finance Authority started accepting applications for funding this week.
Visitors from all New England states may visit NH without quarantine. Others are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Follow these guidelines.
Food options for restaurant takeout & grocery store hours:
- Local restaurants are providing takeout service and delivery via GrubHub, DoorDash, TakeoutGuys and similar services. For a list of takeout options, click here.
- Local grocery stores and pharmacies have special hours for seniors and other immune-challenged people to shop when there are fewer people in the stores. For a list of options, click here.
For the list of restaurants offering takeout and/or that have received approval for various outdoor and/or indoor dining arrangements, click here. Please note that not all plan to open immediately. Always check first, as many have specific reservations requirements.
Additional food assistance:
- GATHER, our local food pantry, can help. Pantry hours are Mon, Tues, Wed: 10 am – 3 pm at 210 West Road #3 in Portsmouth. Thurs: Closed. Fri: 9am-1pm at Community Campus, 100 Campus Drive in Portsmouth. NEW: Open-Air Market for laid-off workers, Thursdays 10 am to 3 pm at Community Campus, 100 Campus Drive in Portsmouth.
- Operation Blessings drive-up food pantry at 600a Lafayette Rd. Wed-Fri, 10am to 4pm, for Portsmouth residents only. For more information, please call 603-430-8561. Senior mobile food pantry to the residents of the Portsmouth area, ages 62 and up, Mon-Sat 10am-4pm. Anyone who is interested please contact Tammy Joslyn at 603-988-2671.
- Meals on Wheels makes deliveries to Portsmouth seniors on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the extra meals for Tuesday and Thursday included in the delivery. Additionally, they will continue to deliver extra shelf-stable food and frozen meals, just in case. New customers are still being accepted, so please call 603-431-0561 to complete an application over the phone.
- The NH Local Welfare Administrators Association has advised Portsmouth that SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits are being supplemented for the already approved clients who receive less than the maximum monthly benefit. Contact the City of Portsmouth Welfare Department for more assistance. Call 603-610-7267 or email WFDept@CityofPortsmouth.com
- Seacoast Mental Health has geared up for exactly these challenges call 603-431-6703 or click here.
- SOS Recovery Community Organization on the Seacoast is answering the phones Mon-Sat from 9 am to 8 pm and on Sunday, noon to 4 pm. Click here.
- The Doorway, NH’s substance-abuse treatment and recovery offers phone assistance during the week and teams with the statewide 2-1-1 system on weekends.
- Alcoholics Anonymous in New Hampshire programs are operating by zoom and other work-arounds, including relying on each group’s telephone hotline of other members.
- The NH Department of Health and Human Services is alert to greater concerns about domestic and child abuse when families are confined to close quarters and under stress. For more information, click here.
- Seacoast Mental Health has geared up for exactly these challenges call 603-431-6703 or click here.
- Seacoast Pathway's virtual clubhouse supports adults living with mental illness on their paths to recovery through a focus on health, wellness, employment-preparedness, and community fellowship. Click here .
- Connections Peer Support in Portsmouth supports anyone over 18 with mental health issues. They offer a “warm line” for support and connection Mon–Fri from 8:30am to 10:00pm and Sat/Sun from 5:00pm to 10:00pm. Also video conference groups, including a women’s group, a young adults group, and a creativity group, among others. For information call 603-427-6966 or click here.
City Hall is open, with mask and physical-distancing protocols in place.
- All of the City Departments are fully operational. To pay bills online, click here.
- For licenses, birth and death certificates antd other vital records, click here. Call or email the City Clerk at 603-610-7245 or email@example.com
- For new vehicle registration and the information you need to register your vehicles click here. Contact the Tax Office at 603-610-7244 or firstname.lastname@example.org To complete registration renewals online: click here.
- City Boards, Commissions and Committees continue to conduct business via zoom and teleconference meetings. Check the Municipal Calendar on the City website homepage for specific dates, agendas and participation instructions.
- Take advantage of City services and resources, including the treasures of the Recreation Department network of parks and off-leash dog parks.
- Portsmouth Public Library --- Although the library building is closed, Portsmouth Public Library staff are still hard at work --remotely.
- Free Streaming Movies with Kanopy! Watch award-winning popular movies, classic cinema, documentaries, and family films for free with a library card! The library is now offering Kanopy on a trial basis – give it a try and let them know what you think! Browse the collection of over 30,000 popular movies, documentaries, classic films, world cinema, and films for children of all ages. Stream films anytime, anywhere, on your preferred devices – there is a Kanopy app for most smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. Watch up to four titles per calendar month. And bonus: during the lockdown, Kanopy is offering many films that do not count toward the limit: the latest critically acclaimed films, cinema classics and films from the Criterion Collection, family films, shorts, and television, even the Great Courses series! Visit cityofportsmouth.com/library/kanopy to get started.
- The Library’s Special Collections Pandemic Community Diary, an initiative to record historical observations about this strange time, was featured today on NHPR. Visit cityofportsmouth.com/library/communitydiary to learn more.
- Library experts are hosting events online, including weekly meditation, a world affairs discussion group, four weekly language discussion groups, reading dogs, classes, and nine (!) different book clubs for all ages. In May, the Library is offering new events, including Harry Potter Trivia, an Organic Gardening Q&A, an End of Life discussion, and a lecture on Wild Edible Plants.
- Library Cards: to access to all of the events, programs and resources: download ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV, and music from Hoopla and Overdrive, take classes on arts, crafts, and computer topics with Creativebug and Lynda Learning, learn a new language with Mango, access free unlimited New York Times articles, and so much more. It’s easy to apply for a library card: Just visit libcat.cityofportsmouth.com/ and click “Log in to your account” and then select “You may register here. Enter your current Portsmouth address and correct contact information. A library staff member will contact you promptly to give you a library card number and verify your information!
- Burn Permits: all previously-held Class I and II seasonal permits (backyard firepits and chimeneas, etc.) that expired on 12/31/2020 have been extended. They are now valid through June 30. The Department asks these permit holders not to seek renewal until July 1. For those seeking new seasonal Class I and II permits, as well as Class III permits (brush piles), a site visit to the burn location is required. Please call 603-427-1515 during business hours and ask for the Shift Captain who will scheduled an appointment to visit your site. The permit fee is $10, cash or check made out to City of Portsmouth. For more information about Portsmouth Outdoor Burning Rules, click here.
Click here for the short video with Chief Germain, reporting as the City's Emergency Management Coordinator, on the Fire and Police Department
- Tell first responders if anyone in the household is quarantined for COVID-19, either as a positive, or awaiting results from testing.
- PARKING. Regular rates and time limits are back in force at kiosks on city streets and garages. For a map of downtown lots offering free parking, click here. Please continue to observe the 15-minute free parking zones, as marked, for takeout/pickup.
Healthcare Worker/First Responder Parking Pass Program -- The hang tag pass allows free parking on all city streets (does not apply to the Foundry Place or High/Hanover garages). Apply for a Healthcare Worker/First Responder Parking Pass at the Foundry Place Garage office with proof of employment in healthcare or as a First Responder, and Portsmouth residency. All Portsmouth parking has a 72-hour limit, which will apply to these pass-holders, as well.
Wipes Clog Pipes!
- Residents should continue to use Click 'n Fix as needed so service requests can be logged and addressed.
- The recycling center is open and staffed to allow just a few vehicles at a time for physical-distancing. No cash accepted. Payment for the usual special item disposal fees must be by check.
- Trash pickup is on the normal schedule and yard waste pickups have also begun but may be limited by the availability of workers and trucks.
- Trees & Greenery invites you to participate in the City's Adopt-A-Spot Program -- a great family project you can do while staying 6 feet part.
- The City’s Regional Water System continues normal procedures for operating, monitoring and maintaining the Portsmouth and Pease Tradeport Water Treatment systems. Our source waters are chlorinated for adequate disinfection, monitored continuously for chlorine residuals and sampled throughout the water system to assure proper treatment continues. Water & Sewer Division services are considered essential businesses and are staffed accordingly so the water supply is adequately meeting demand. For the latest comprehensive water supply update, click here.
What can I do to help?
- Volunteer: For those who need volunteers and those who want to volunteer, sign up with VolunteerNH.org which is focusing on COVID-19 related relief right now. Operation Blessings asks those who are interested in volunteering, to please use this online system, click here.