Covid-19 Task Force looks for so. Vt. medical sites Scott orders non-exempt business to end in-person contact

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By Shawn Cunningham
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

While the Vermont National Guard works to set up emergency medical centers in northern Vermont to help hospitals with a possible surge in Covid-19 cases that could overwhelm them, Gov. Phil Scott’s Covid-19 Task Force is searching southern Vermont for similar sites, Mark Bosma, spokesman for Vermont Emergency Management, told The Telegraph on Tuesday afternoon.

Also today, Scott announced stricter rules on how owners would conduct their businesses, as the state seeks to stop the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

As for the roll out of the southern emergency medical sites, Bosma said he did not know the schedule.  But, he added, the northern sites were the first that could be finalized. Such facilities, Bosma said, would act as offshoots for the local hospital’s medical surge plans.

The four counties in Southern Vermont — Windsor, Windham, Bennington and Rutland —  have more than one-third of those testing positive for Covid-19 and are home to nearly one-third of the state’s total population.

Capt. Mike Arcovitch, of the Vermont National Guard, said that Guard members were setting up cots and tables and would be moving supplies, but were not part of the process of selecting the sites.

According to an article by Kevin McCallum in Seven Days, the Vermont National Guard confirmed that it was ordered to set up facilities in three locations. Those are:

  • University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, the largest indoor arena in Vermont.
  • Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center in St. Albans, a multi-use facility off Interstate 89.
  • Barre Civic Center, Barre. A multipurpose arena is used for high school basketball championships.

On March 2, Scott announced the task force, which is made up of representatives from Vermont Emergency Management, the departments of Public Safety, Health, Human Resources, Buildings and General Services, Agencies of Education and Human Services, Vermont National Guard, Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition, E-911 Board, the chair of the Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Advisory Council and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Scott demands work from home, ends in-person contact

Scott’s announcement Tuesday was beefing up his request for businesses to make it possible for employees to work remotely by mandating that Vermonters simply stay home.

Gov. Phil Scott

Effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, “all businesses and not-for-profit entities not expressly exempted in the order must suspend all in-person business operations. Operations that can be conducted online or by phone, or sales that can be facilitated with curbside pickup or delivery only, can continue.”

Those businesses exempted from the order include health-care operations, retail serving essential human needs such as grocery stores, pharmacies and hardware stores, fuel products and supply, maintenance of critical infrastructure, news media, transportation and critical manufacturing sectors.

A full list can be found on the governor’s addendum to his executive order by clicking here.

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Filed Under: Business & Personal FinanceCommunityCovid 19 CoverageFeaturedLatest NewsMandated shutdownsSouthern Vermont activity

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