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Vermont begins reopening 'low contact' businesses with two-person staff limit

Vermont begins reopening 'low contact' businesses with two-person staff limit
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Vermont has begun allowing some “low contact” businesses to reopen with a two-person staff limit, the governor’s office announced Monday.

Gov. Phil Scott (R), in an addendum to his stay-at-home order, directed the state’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) to issue guidance to allow outdoor businesses and construction operations — including those working in civil engineering, exterior construction, public works and landscaping — with crews of two or fewer people to operate.

The update to the order will also allow the resumption of work for single-person “low contact” professional services such as appraisers, attorneys and realtors, if the employees follow the health requirements. 

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The addendum, which also includes new health and safety requirements and encourages face coverings, maps a “measured, phased approach” to reopening the state government, according to his press release.

Scott pointed to a growth rate of new coronavirus cases that has remained under 4 percent for 12 days, as well as stable hospitalization numbers, as signs the state is ready to take its first step to reopening.

“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,” the governor said in the release. “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.” 

Commerce Secretary Lindsay Kurrle said in a memo to Vermont businesses that, “The success of this phased restart will depend in large part on the ability of employers and employees to adhere to the public health, safety and social distancing measures essential to limiting the spread of illness.” 

The move comes the same day as Texas authorized the reopening of state parks for day-use if visitors wear face coverings and keep a 6-foot distance from those outside their group.