BRATTLEBORO, Vermont (WWLP) – On a normal sunny spring day, downtown Brattleboro, Vermont would be filled with sidewalk sales. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most non-essential stores are closed leaving the streets mainly empty.
But Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed an addendum outlining a phased approach and five requirements for businesses to start reopening.
“It would be a really good thing. I think people are losing money. The only issue is they just have to find another way to protect people,” Brattleboro resident, Amanda Wrublevski told 22News.
The addendum states that employees cannot go to work if they are sick. They must observe strict social distancing of six feet and wear non-medical cloth face coverings. While employers must supply easy access to soap and water or hand sanitizer and no more than two people can be in one vehicle while conducting work.
“That’s scratching the surface. I mean I’m sure there’s other ways,” Wrublevski continued. “There’s so much going on it’s hard to figure things out but I think there’s other ways and more cautions that we can all take. Never can be too safe now-a-days.”
But not everyone agrees with the governor’s plan to start re-opening the economy during the pandemic.
“I’m a little worried about it because I don’t think that we have a real number. I think we have to test, test, test. I would feel better if we really had more of the supply that we really need in case there’s another surge,” Guildford, Vermont resident, Dana Berry expressed.
In the new addendum, single-worker based services such as real estate agencies can reopen as long as they have a one-to-one ratio with just the employee and a client at a time. Also included are attorneys, property managers, municipal clerks and pet care operators.
The federal government suggests in their “Opening Up America Again” gating criteria that for states to begin reopening they must have a “downward trajectory of positive tests as a
percent of total tests within a 14-day period.” Vermont does satisfy that part of the criteria.
“We’re going in the right direction. I just don’t think that there’s enough information, enough kits, enough testing,” Brattleboro resident, Donna Jacobs told 22News.
Governor Scott’s addendum also allows commercial retail operations to reopen for curbside and delivery services with a “minimum number of employees necessary.” All orders for those businesses must be made over the phone or online.
Some Vermont residents think the governor’s executive order restrictions were too strong in the first place.
“We should all know how to take care of ourselves. How to clean our hands. That’s important stuff. How to clean door knobs and light switches and you know be reasonably careful,” said Brattleboro Vermont resident, Wayne Griffis.
While the governor issued the Phase one guidelines, he also states in the addendum, “all businesses, non-profit entities and government entities shall continue procedures to support work from home and telecommuting for all workers to the extent possible.”
The addendum will be in effect until midnight on May 15, 2020 when Governor Scott will determine whether or not to amend or extend it.