Vermont is among the states beginning to ease coronavirus restrictions and the first in the Northeast region to make moves in a phased restart of its economy.
The new guidance allows outdoor businesses and construction operations with crews of two or less, as well as some single-person low-contact professional services like appraisers, attorneys, and real estate agents, to operate if specified safety requirements can be met.
Those safety requirements include stipulations that employees observe “strict” social distancing while on the job, wear face coverings when in the presence of others, and have “easy and frequent access” to hand sanitizer or soap and water.
Per Addendum 10 to @GovPhilScott’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Order, there is new guidance for the limited reopening of certain business sectors in strict accordance with mandatory health and safety requirements. Takes effect Monday, April 20th. Full guidance: https://t.co/SJfUmOKmR8 pic.twitter.com/5KmAxMGZtb
— Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development (@VTEconDev) April 17, 2020
In announcing the change in guidance, the Republican governor pointed out the state’s growth rate in new coronavirus cases had averaged below 4 percent for the previous 12 days and that there had been a stabilization in the number of people requiring hospitalization.
“We’re seeing some promising results and continue to trend below even the best-case scenarios predicted in recent forecasting,” Scott said in a statement last week. “This is all a result of the hard work and sacrifice of Vermonters across the state, and I can’t thank you enough.”
“These forecasts show we can continue to slow the number of new COVID-19 cases if we continue to stay vigilant, meaning staying home, avoiding large gatherings, staying six feet away from others, using a cloth face covering when in public and washing our hands,” he added. “But what these trends also show is that with the right precautions, we can take small steps to get more Vermonters back to work and avoid a spike in cases that would put lives at risk.”
As of Wednesday, Vermont was reporting 818 cases of COVID-19. Forty people have died from the virus in the state.
Scott says his administration will be “guided by data and modeling” moving forward, will maintain preparations for health care readiness, and will continue to increase testing and tracing for the virus.