With COVID-19 closing non-essential businesses across the country, local businesses have had to adjust their operations accordingly. 

Executive Director of the Monadnock Humane Society (MHS) Kathy Collinsworth said, like many organizations and businesses, MHS had to make changes to their facility in response to the virus. 

“As soon as things were starting to progress with COVID-19, we made every effort to take the animals that were left in the shelter and we had a big adoption event, trying to clear the shelter out over one weekend,” Collinsworth said. “We had quite a response which was great. Then we took the remaining animals that we had in-house and put them into foster homes. So we currently have close to 50 animals now in foster homes.”

MHS has had to halt their daycare and training services, but the humane society is still housing stray animals that are found and its pet food pantry is still open. MHS is also still providing its Animal Safety Net program.

“We’re providing services related to our Animal Safety Net program. If somebody is in need of fleeing domestic violence, or they are homeless and need to go into a shelter, or they are facing a lengthy hospital stay, especially during this time of COVID-19, we will board and care for their animal at no cost until they can be reunited,” Collinsworth said. “We certainly read and heard about the increase in domestic violence during these stressful times in isolation, so to be able to care for their animal until they can be safe again is something that we’re able to do for the community.”   

Collinsworth said that all staff members who had to be furloughed are planned to come back to work as usual once the risk of the virus has subsided. 

Another local business that has been impacted by the state’s stay-at-home order is the Keene Family YMCA. According to CEO of the Keene YMCA Dan Smith, the YMCA is still operating, but their facility is closed. 

“We’ve relaunched what it means to be a ‘Y’ in the virtual world. We’re offering exercise classes, we’re offering reading time to our preschool kids, we’re offering arts and crafts, we’re offering family activities and some general community-like gatherings all done virtually through Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube and so on,” Smith said. “Those have been a great success. We are probably offering, at this point, 60 percent of the exercise classes that we used to offer, in terms of the number of classes each week.”

The Keene YMCA is also stepping up to aid the community during COVID-19 if needed.

“In terms of being responsive to the virus itself, we’ve tried to rise to that occasion to the extent that we’re positioned to do so. We’ve done that by partnering with the Red Cross to offer four different blood drives at this point. We’ve also offered our facility as a backup if the hospital and other places in town that they’ve already set up for should get overrun.” 

The Keene YMCA is also currently doing phone call wellness checks on some of their more vulnerable members and staff members are offering to do grocery or pharmacy runs for them if needed. The YMCA is still offering daycare for essential workers with children.

“The child care that we used to deliver was changed for essential workers only,” Smith said. “We’ve changed the ratios in each room so we’re always keeping under ten people in one room. We’ve also now made sure that no one group interfaces in a space another group has been unless it’s been cleaned first.”

As of now, the state of New Hampshire has a stay-at-home order until May 4. However, Governor Chris Sununu said in a news conference on April 23 that the order is likely to be extended. 

Luca’s Mediterranean Cafe, Keene Cinemas 6 and The Works did not respond to requests for comment.    


Rachel Vitello can be contacted at


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