Mayor Craig took an immediate and decisive role in navigating Manchester as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world. By smart preparation at the city level, talented and heroic city employees, and an embrace of the local community, Manchester is entering the summer of 2021 in the best possible shape, given challenges beyond our control. Mayor Craig put our students, public health, and the strength of small businesses at the front of every decision she made to address this once in a century problem.
Taking Immediate Action
- Even before COVID-19 came into Manchester, we opened our Emergency Operations Center to prepare for what could come our way.
- The day after Manchester had its first COVID-19 case, we set up the City of Manchester COVID-19 Hotline (603-668-1547) and announced the closure of all schools and the City’s Senior Center — one day before the State.
- Three days after schools closed, we developed a system with MANSD and Manchester Transit Authority to deliver meals to nearly 6,000 school children in Manchester.
- We took immediate steps to stop water disconnections, moved all city services online, set up relief programs for small businesses and residents, and made public transportation free for all riders.
- Set up weekly testing sites and are currently providing vaccinations to vulnerable populations, including every public housing building in Manchester.
- The Manchester Health Department has investigated over 10,000 cases of COVID-19 among Manchester residents representing 13% of all cumulative positive cases in the state of New Hampshire; Providing contact tracing to 20,000 individuals connected to a positive case.
- Through the Granite United Way Relief Fund and the Manchester Health Department, addressed basic needs for over 400 households and 1000 Manchester residents with the provision of food assistance, PPE, thermometers and financial assistance. With this partnership and 211, an additional 1,000 Manchester residents were also served with unmet needs.
- The Manchester Health Department created daily and weekly dashboards for both the City and Manchester School District to use for decision making and strategic planning.
- The City of Manchester was the first community in New Hampshire to stand up an Alternative Care Site at SNHU. Had this location been activated, it was ready to receive 224 diverted patients to alleviate the COVID-19 burden on our health care delivery system.
Leading Through the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Hired a city epidemiologist and Emergency Management Coordinator prior to the pandemic using allocated grant funding, while the state was cutting millions from the DHHS budget.
- Established the Small Business Recovery Loan Program with the Manchester Development Corporation, with $1 million available in low-interest loans to distribute $1 million in loans to local businesses during COVID-19.
- Developed the Small Business Resiliency Grant, focused on assisting minority-owned businesses, which helped to create and retain jobs, allocating $263,000 in federal funds.
- Made major investments in school district technology, including raising the device per student ratio from 4:1 to 1:1, in order to continue instruction during the transition to remote learning and mitigate educational dropoff.
- Established brand new community building events, such as downtown trick or treating and the city’s first ever holiday lights competition, in order to stay connected in a year that prevented us from gathering.
- Expanded outdoor dining throughout the pandemic, allowing restaurants to safely offer greater dining capacity, and making our downtown more vibrant.
- Created more opportunities than ever to directly hear from residents of Manchester, with Community Office Hours, virtual town halls on key issues like homelessness and policing, and a constituent survey for how to best use direct relief funding from the American Rescue Plan, more than $44 Million coming directly into the city.
- In partnership with Parks and Recreation, purchased and distributed hundreds Summer Activity Packages to Manchester children in need.