CONCORD, New Hampshire — 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.

More than 102,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 160 cases announced Wednesday. Two new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 1,393.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 53 new cases per day on July 26 to 150 new cases per day on Aug. 9.