Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Vermont, US, lift restrictions on additional businesses, keep stay-at-home order, travel restrictions in place through May 15.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Rutland, Vermont

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 22:06 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Vermont (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 15
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Vermont Governor Philip Scott has launched the second phase of his state's recovery plan aimed at gradually easing restrictions that had been imposed as part of the response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new recovery phase includes the following provisions, which entered into force on April 27:

  • Crews of up to five people may perform outdoor maintenance or construction work on structures.
  • Manufacturing and distribution operations, as well as interior construction on uninhabited structures may resume with a maximum of five employees per location.
  • Outdoor retail spaces may reopen for in-person shopping with a maximum of 10 customers.


Businesses operated by a single employee, such as attorneys, realtors, and clerks, have been allowed to operate since April 20, provided no more than two people are in the office at a time. Starting May 1, farmers' markets that are able to avoid gatherings will able to reopen. Social distancing and protective face mask requirements, along with other mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, remain in force for all businesses that are in operation.

Orders requiring other nonessential businesses to close or to operate exclusively with employees working from home remain in place through May 15. Essential businesses and services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and fuel stations, as well as media, agriculture, transport, security, and critical manufacturing companies, continue to open.

Despite the state's launch of recovery phase two, Vermont's stay-at-home order will remain in effect through May 15. The directive requires residents to stay at home except to perform essential tasks such as obtaining basic goods, attending to medical issues, or traveling to work at a business authorized to operate. Residents may also engage in outdoor recreational activities, provided they adhere to social distancing standards. A prohibition on travelers from Florida, Louisiana, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Chicago, and Detroit from entering Vermont also remains in effect. Travelers entering from other US states or foreign countries are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. A ban on all lodging operations, except to provide shelter to the homeless, accommodations for healthcare and other essential workers, or space for quarantine facilities, also remains in place through May 15.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the measures that remain in effect. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures is likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose or extend restrictions further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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