Republican N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu gestures during his State of the State address at the State House in Concord, N.H., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Credit: Charles Krupa / AP

CONCORD, N.H. — Churches and other houses of worship will be considered providers of essential services during future states of emergency in New Hampshire.

Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday signed a bill that allows such religious organizations to operate to the same degree as essential businesses during a state of emergency.

Supporters argued it wasn’t fair to shut down churches during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic while hardware and liquor stores remained open. Many religious organizations held services online during that time.

The new law takes effect in 60 days.

Story by Holly Ramer, Associated Press