With the recent announcement of the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Vermont, there has been a focus on the best way to move forward for towns, organizations and businesses.
If you think you may have coronavirus, please contact your doctor. If you have recently returned from another country or a cruise ship, please contact the Vermont Health Department at 802-863-7240. For more information about local emergency management guidelines, visit your town’s website. If you have traveled to Vermont, you need to home-quarantine for 14 days.
The Vermont Department of Health has released this information and advise about coronavirus:
Frequently reported signs and symptoms at illness onset of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 include fever, cough, myalgia or fatigue, and shortness of breath. Less commonly reported symptoms include sore throat, headache, cough with sputum production and/or hemoptysis, nausea, diarrhea and loss of smell. Risk factors for serious disease associated with COVID-19 include older age and comorbidities (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes). You can check your symptoms on the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/index.html.
Mildly ill patients should be encouraged to stay home and contact their health care provider by phone for guidance about clinical management. Patients with severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek care immediately. Older patients and individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their physician early in the course of even mild illness. The Department of Health continues to work to expand COVID-19 testing to a broader group of Vermonters – including those who have mild to moderate symptoms – to help increase contact tracing efforts and prevent the virus from spreading.
Wednesday, April 29
Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), and Representative Peter Welch (D) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Carranza urging them to provide clear and official guidance about the loan forgiveness provisions in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). “We encourage Treasury and the SBA to act now to avoid more confusion for small business owners and lenders. This week, the second round of funding became available and many businesses are now making the decision to either apply for the program, and risk that their loans will not be forgiven creating more financial hardship, or walk away from a program which may provide much needed relief during this unprecedented crisis.”
Friday, April 24
The Hartford Transfer Station will not be able to accept any Green Up Day trash this year unless you include it and pay for it in your three allowed 30 gallon bags per drop-off. If you have questions, contact your town Green Up Day coordinator or call Hannah Tyler at the Transfer Station at 802-295-3622.
Governor Phil Scott released a new addendum for businesses that goes into affect on Monday, April 27, which allows for outdoor businesses, construction operations and recreation maintenance work to have a maximum of five total workers per location. Outdoor retail space, previously restricted to curbside or delivery service, can allow in-person shopping in outdoor areas with a maximum of 10 total people (this includes staff and customers). Manufacturing and distribution operations, and interior construction of uninhabited structures, may resume operations with a maximum of five employees in one location, if they are low-density and ensure employees are always six feet apart.
Fire service organizations nationwide with membership on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will soon be able to apply for a share of $100 million in funding to purchase personal protective equipment and supplies. The funding is part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act through FEMA Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP). FEMA will begin accepting applications for the Fiscal Year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant – COVID-19 Supplemental Program (AFG-S) on Tuesday, April 28. The deadline for applications is May 15. AFG-S provides direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations and state fire training academies.
Wednesday, April 22
Governor Phil Scott and Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) Commissioner Michael Pieciak today announced that more than 40 additional auto insurance companies have filed plans to return premiums or reduce their rates for Vermont policyholders. DFR has moved quickly to approve these plans which amount to over $14.6 million in savings for Vermonters to date. All Vermont-based auto insurance companies, along with most major out-of-state insurers, have developed refund plans for Vermonters, which combined, represent approximately 90 percent of all personal auto policies in Vermont. Each of these insurers has seen a reduction in claims as Vermonters do their part to stay home to comply with the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe directive.
Friday, April 17
Governor Phil Scott today announced a flag lowering procedure to honor Vermonters who have died due to COVID-19. The U.S. and Vermont state flags are to fly at half-staff on the 19th of every month for the remainder of 2020. “As we continue to confront this public health crisis, it is important for each of us to remember those who are no longer with us and the friends and family who cared for them. We will get through this by staying united as Vermonters,” he said in a statement.
Governor Phil Scott announced that the state will slowly begin to open up businesses in Vermont beginning on Monday, April 21. He said businesses with one to two employees who could maintain social distancing and have low to no contact with the public could go back to work. Other requirements include having to wear a fabric masks when around others and the ability to wash hands frequently.
Wednesday, April 15
Governor Phil Scott and the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) today announced an emergency regulation requiring commercial insurers to waive cost-sharing requirements, such as co-payments, coinsurance or deductible requirements, for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. The emergency regulation is retroactive to March 13, the date that Governor Scott declared a State of Emergency.
Tuesday, April 14
Governor Phil Scott and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) announced the establishment of the State of Vermont Economic Mitigation & Recovery Task Force. The task force, which is charged with providing technical assistance and expertise to mitigate the devastating short-term economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, will develop strategies designed to speed long-term business and community recovery. Gov. Scott said the task force is comprised of job creators, community leaders and business representatives from each region of the state.
Friday, April 10
Governor Phil Scott extends Vermont’s State of Emergency through May 15, which also extends the expiration date of all corresponding orders and directives issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday, April 8
Governor Phil Scott’s request for federal disaster funds to assist the state of Vermont in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been approved by President Donald Trump. The president approved the state’s request for federal Public Assistance (PA) funds for the state and all towns for costs incurred in the response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday, April 7
Governor Phil Scott has requested federal disaster funds to assist the state of Vermont in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The request asks for federal Public Assistance (PA) funds for the state and all towns for costs incurred in the response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Individual Assistance, including Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling Assistance/Regular Services Program for all Vermont counties. If granted, this disaster assistance provides a 75 percent reimbursement to state and local governments and some nonprofits for emergency protective measures, including actions taken to save lives and protect public health and safety.
Saturday, April 4
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza today announced that SBA issued guidance clarifying that all faith-based organizations impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) are eligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, without restrictions based on their religious identity or activities, to the extent they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the CARES Act that was passed by Congress, signed into law by President Trump, and implemented by the Paycheck Protection Act Interim Final Rule.
Friday, April 3
Starting on April 6, the Woodstock Town Manager’s office will be closed. To reach the town manager, call and leave a message or email him. Woodstock’s playgrounds have also been closed.
Governor Phil Scott today issued an order clarifying the expiration date for two previous directives to ensure all are complying with his Stay Home, Stay Safe order until April 15 or beyond. This new order makes clear that any previous orders or directives that had an expiration date prior to April 15, are subject to the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, which means they must follow the in-person operation closure guidance until April 15. Specifically, this is in reference to the Governor’s orders closing bars and restaurants for dine-in service, and the Department of Motor Vehicles for in-person operation, which would have otherwise expired April 6.
Attorney General T.J. Donovan today published Attorney General’s Directive to Law Enforcement on the Enforcement of COVID-19 Emergency Order. The directive is geared toward law enforcement, including state’s attorneys, sheriffs, and police. The directive establishes that the Attorney General will bring all enforcement actions related to the COVID-19 Emergency Order and provides steps for how law enforcement should approach non-compliant businesses and individuals.
The Attorney General’s directive instructs law enforcement who encounter non-compliant businesses or individuals to provide education and request voluntary compliance. If noncompliance continues, law enforcement will report those issues and the Attorney General’s Office will work with law enforcement to develop an appropriate response. The directive also clarifies the available penalties: a civil violation of up to $1,000 per violation per day and criminal violation of up to $500 fine and/or up to six months imprisonment.
Thursday, April 2
Attorney General T.J. Donovan today issued a Directive to Lodging Operations on the Enforcement of COVID-19 Emergency Order. The directive supports the Attorney General’s ongoing effort to promote voluntary compliance with Governor Scott’s Executive Order by providing Vermonters with education and outreach during the COVID-19 crisis. To date, this effort has included making telephone contact with 41 lodging operations identified by law enforcement as not complying with the Governor’s orders earlier this week.
Attorney General T.J. Donovan today published Recommended Guidance of the Attorney General Regarding Incarceration Decisions During the COVID-19 for prosecutors, police, and the Department of Corrections. The guidance was developed to promote the priority of ensuring the safety of all Vermonters, including law enforcement and those who are incarcerated. It outlines best practices for decisions that affect court appearances and possible incarceration during the COVID-19 emergency, to make Vermont’s response as fair and uniform as possible across the state. Today’s guidance identifies recommended best practices for issues such as citations, bail, and probation. It also acknowledges that domestic violence and sexual violence cases remain priorities and the guidance does not apply to these crimes.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, licensees have expressed concerns that they will not be able to have their currently valid liquor license renewed by the expiration date of April 30. The Department of Liquor and Lottery, Division of Liquor Control (DLL) recognizes these concerns and will implement a “Valid after Expired” status for any licensee that files with DLL an on-line application for renewal. (The application form is available at: liquorcontrol.vermont.gov/content/licensing-renewal-intent-form.) There is no renewal fee required at the time a licensee submits this form.
Governor Phil Scott today announced new steps in the State’s plan to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases, and in turn, the need for additional hospital and medical capacity. Additional rapid reaction medical surge trailers containing material for 50 additional beds have been prepositioned across Vermont, including and Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center in Windsor. In addition to the Vermont National Guard and health care leaders, the State is working to increase capacity through partnerships with home health providers, designated agencies, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and more.
Wednesday, April 1
Bethel-Royalton Transfer Station will be open reduced hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please visit only if necessary. They are only accepting trash, recycling and food scraps. Trash must be in a bag, no loose trash. They are not allowing customers in the office. Please pay for bagged trash at the cashier’s window inside the building. If you use the scale, please pay at the cashier’s window outside the building. Please provide your own pen. Checks should be made payable to “Bethel-Royalton Transfer Station” or “BRTS”. If you are paying with cash, please use the smallest bills possible.
Tuesday, March 31
As emergency departments across the country begin surging with COVID-19 patients, a behind-the-scenes group at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) is surging for science. In what can typically take 60 days or more, a team of research operations leads and investigators have opened two, Phase 3 therapeutic studies of a potential treatment for COVID-19 in a remarkable six days. D-H is now one of approximately 97 clinical sites worldwide actively participating in the trials of Remdesivir, evaluating the effectiveness in patients with moderate and severe COVID-19 disease.
Effective immediately the Woodstock Fast Trash Program will be moved from 512 Woodstock Road to one of the following three locations: The first location is located at the Hartland Public Library in Hartland from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday until further notice. The second location is located at the Bridgewater Town Highway Garage, 65 Schoolhouse Rd., Bridgewater Corners from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Saturday until further notice. The third location is Hartford Transfer Station, 2590 No. Hartland Rd. (Rte. 5), White River Junction every Tuesday and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p..m. Please make sure you bring exact change, which will be dropped off in a cash box after dropping off your trash and recycling. Pricing will stay the same.
Monday, March 30
The Health Department website has several new features including a new section called “Ask a Question,” which allows visitors to type questions about COVID-19 in Vermont into a box. The information we currently have available will be provided as an answer through a web bot. We appreciate your patience as we continue to update this information regularly.
As part of plans to expand testing, the Health Department announced a new coronavirus testing site at Landmark College in Putney operated by the Vermont National Guard. This is the latest of sites opened to provide Vermonters with as broad access to testing as possible. You still need to call your health care provider to be evaluated and for the provider to determine if you need a test. DO NOT go to a testing site without an order from your provider. Tests will still be prioritized, and patients who not experiencing symptoms will not be tested.
Governor Phil Scott ordered additional restrictions on travelers arriving in Vermont and announced additional guidance for the lodging industry to enhance compliance with his Stay Home, Stay Safe order.
In light of the significant risk posed by the further spread of this dangerous virus to Vermonters and the viability of Vermont’s health care system, this new order directs residents and non-residents coming from outside the state for anything other than an essential purpose to home-quarantine for 14 days and strongly discourages travel to Vermont by those located in COVID-19 “hot spots.”
The order makes clear that lodging facilities – which includes hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short term rentals (e.g. VRBO, Homeaway, Airbnb, etc.), and all public and private camping facilities and RV parks — are to be closed except for stated exemptions when supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. Additionally, the Governor has suspended online lodging reservations.
This addendum to the Executive Order shall take effect upon signing and shall continue in full force and effect until April 15, at which time the Governor, in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, the Agency of Human Services and the Department of Public Safety/Division of Emergency Management shall assess the emergency and determine whether to amend or extend this Order.
Friday, March 27
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine emphasized that the new coronavirus attacks the lungs, making it harder for people who smoke or vape – tobacco, cannabis or anything else – to fight off the virus, putting them at much greater risk of severe illness, even death. The message in general is that there has never been a better time, and there has never been a better reason, to quit – and 802quits.org can help with online or phone quit coaching, quit resources and tools.
The Vermont Health Department advises that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drugs specifically for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Though the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, among others, have been widely discussed as potential treatments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said there are no data currently available from randomized clinical trials that would inform how these drugs could be used to treat COVID-19. In fact, there are significant potential risks to taking such drugs, including death.
Health officials remind Vermonters that most people who get COVID-19 can manage their symptoms at home with rest, drinking fluids and taking fever-reducing medication. Talk to your health care provider before taking any substance alleged to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Thursday, March 26
Governor Phil Scott directed schools to remain dismissed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Districts will close schools for in-person instruction and be required to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning. This decision was made in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education in the continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. To minimize disruption to students’ learning, the Governor’s order directs school districts to come up with plans for distance learning by April 13.
The White River Junction VA Healthcare System has announced they will be transitioning all face-to-face visits to VA Video Connect or telephone visits at their Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Keene, N.H. and at the Brattleboro, Newport, and Rutland locations until further notice. This change will be effective starting March 26. The remaining Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Littleton, N.H., as well as Burlington and Bennington will initiate this change beginning April 2. The White River Junction VA Healthcare System asks that patients use telehealth options for medical and behavioral visits that are not emergent.
Tuesday, March 24
On Tuesday, Governor Phil Scott issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order and directed the closure of in-person operations for all non-essential businesses. These restrictive measures are in place to minimize all unnecessary activities outside the home to slow the spread of this virus and protect the public. These actions were implemented in consultation with the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health and his evaluation of the latest data.
Monday, March 23
Governor Scott on Monday signed an order directing all businesses and not-for-profit entities, to the maximum extent possible, to put into place telecommuting or work-from-home procedures, no later than 8 p.m. on Monday, March 23. He also told Vermonters to prepare for a forthcoming announcement on further restrictions and a stay-at-home directive.
Governor Phil Scott has directed the Commissioner of Taxes to exercise his authority to provide relief to Vermont businesses who owe Meals and Rooms Tax or Sales and Use Tax until further notice. Many of our local businesses find themselves unable to meet the March 25 and April 25 filing deadlines due to the implementation of mitigation steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Taxpayers who are unable to meet the deadlines will not be charged any penalty or interest on these taxes for late submissions.
Vermonters are advised as well that income tax filing due dates for the following taxes have been extended from April 15 to July 15 for Vermont personal income tax; Vermont homestead declaration and property tax claims; corporate income tax; and fiduciary income tax. This means taxpayers can file and pay these taxes on or before July 15 without any penalty or interest. This includes any tax year 2020 estimated payments that were due for these taxes on April 15.
Governor Phil Scott announced the Vermont Department of Public Service has released an interactive Public Wi-Fi Hot Spot Map to help Vermonters connect to publicly available internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The list can be found at https://publicservice.vermont.gov/announcements/public-wifi-hotspots-vermont.
Friday, March 20
The Woodstock Select Board voted Friday to approve the voluntary return of $369,000 in Economic Development Commission grants to support struggling businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
During the teleconference, board members also voted to approve EDC’s recommendation to use EDC funds to issue immediate $1,000 loans to businesses at no interest and with payments deferred for one year.At the end of the year, the EDC will reassess those loans for possible conversion into business grants. “This is not to make people whole, this is to help people survive,” EDC Chair Jon Spector said.
Spector said a number of 2020 grant recipients have said they are willing to return $208,000 out of the $369,000 in grant awards made in January.
The Treasury Department announced that federal income tax filing and payment deadlines for individual returns with a due date of April 15 are being automatically extended until July 15. The IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.
The Department of Labor has tripled staff in its claims center and added another phone line to process initial claims for unemployment. Use whichever you prefer. The online form can be found at https://appengine.egov.com/apps/vt/dol/unemploymentinsuranceclaim or you can call the full-service filing of claims at 1-877-214-3330 (individuals should try this line first) or the supplemental initial claim intake at 1-888-807-7072. They are open Monday-Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday, March 19
Officials from the State of Vermont have announced Thursday evening that two Vermont residents have died from the coronavirus. One was an elderly Windsor County resident who was at the VA hospital in White River Junction and the other was an elderly female who was a resident of the Burlington Health & Rehab elderly care facility.
Wednesday, March 18
The Woodstock Village Board Of Trustees has authorized a moratorium on all parking meter collections and enforcement of two hour parking limitations within the Village. This moratorium is in effect through April 30.
The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend all in-person transactions effective 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. The DMV will continue to process registration and license renewals and various other services online, by mail, or via telephone. In-person transactions that cannot be completed using other delivery options (like exams, trainings, and hearings) will be postponed for the duration of the state of emergency.
Community Bank to close all branch lobbies and operate solely through our available drive-thrus, starting Thursday, March 19. Branches without drive-thru capabilities will close temporarily. All branch lobbies will be available by appointment only.
Lucy Mackenzie Pet Pantry, West Windsor: Whether you’re unable to make it to the store to pick-up food or supplies for your cat or dog, or struggling to afford it, the Lucy Mackenzie Pet Pantry is here to help all in our community when they need it most. The Pet Pantry is open during our normal business hours.
The Vermont Supreme Court issued an administrative directive, effective immediately, ordering the postponement of all jury trials for which the jury has not yet been drawn until at least April 15.
Hearings for non-emergency matters, although generally suspended, may proceed if the parties participate remotely and are not in the courthouse. Such hearings are subject to the discretion of the Superior Judge and the Court Administrator.
Tuesday, March 17
All elementary schools in the Windsor Central Union District will be open from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 19 for families to pick up student educational materials and personal belongings. Woodstock Union High School Middle School (WUHSMS) will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 to Friday, March 20 for families and students to pick up education materials and personal belongings they wish to retrieve.
Governor Phil Scott has directed childcare centers across the state to close normal operations but encourages continued operation exclusively where needed to provide childcare services for workers who are essential to Vermont’s ongoing effort in community mitigation of COVID-19. To support those most critical to Vermont’s ongoing COVID-19 response, the Governor has ordered schools to provide childcare for “essential persons” working in response to the crisis. District by district information will be available as those local plans are finalized.
“Teachers, childcare providers and school support staff are going to be as critical to our response as our doctors, nurses and healthcare support staff,” said Governor Phil Scott. “That’s why, even as we ask the public to step back to help slow the spread of this virus, we are asking others, including our educators and child care providers, to step in and provide a critical service so those who are on the frontlines of our response can continue to care for the sick, protect the public and manage this evolving challenge. I am incredibly proud of the selflessness of these public servants at this time of need.”
Monday, March 16
The Annual Woodstock Village Meeting has been postponed to Tuesday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m., at the Town Hall Theater. Polls are open at Town Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Following the Village Meeting, there will be a re-organizational meeting, which will include the restructuring of the board and municipal appointments.
Governor Phil Scott announced new guidance that further restricts the size of mass gatherings to the lesser than 50 people or 50 percent of the occupancy of a facility. This restriction applies to all social, recreational or entertainment activities, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, gymnasium, fitness center, library or any other confined indoor or outdoor space.
Gov. Scott is also ordering the closure of all bars and restaurants statewide. Establishments can continue to offer food takeout and delivery service. This measure is effective beginning 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17 and is in effect until April 6, though this could be extended.
Woodstock Town Hall will continue to operate. Access to the second floor will be limited to staff and a phone will be available for people to talk to staff as needed. Payment of bills is still available, use the phone to talk to the department and make the payment over the phone.
Hartford Transfer Station has announced that access to the interior of all buildings will be closed to the public until further notice. They will continue to manage coupon sales at the scale house. All customers will be asked to sort and deposit their own recyclables and trash at the outdoor containers. They are advising all of customers to have a back-up plan for waste disposal in the extreme event that they have to close the facility. The open hours at the facility will be Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until further notice.
Sunday, March 15
Governor Phil Scott has announced a Continuity of Education Plan for the orderly dismissal of all schools, and cancellation of all school related activities, no later than Wednesday, March 18 in response to the coronavirus. This directive will last through April 6, but may very well be extended for a longer period. No student is required to be in school Monday or Tuesday, if their parents or guardians would prefer to keep them home.
Saturday, March 14
Effective immediately, anyone entering one of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health’s facilities, which includes Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, New London Hospital, Cheshire Medical Center, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Community Group Practice in Southern New Hampshire, will be asked screening questions about symptoms of respiratory illness and travel history.
The Vermont Agency of Education recommends school districts plan for the possibility of the prolonged, preemptive closure of the schools in your district. The decision to close schools will be made with as much advance notice as possible, but we all recognize that this may occur quickly based on the best science and the guidance of the best public health experts we have in Vermont.
School districts should be urged, strongly, to think clearly and carefully about the guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and impact of school closures on overall response. Here are some important points local districts should consider:
- Based on the best available public health science, data and assessments specific to COVID-19 closing schools in Vermont at this time is not recommend by the Vermont Department of Health. Again, this recommendation is based on the best available information and expertise.
- Closing our schools and childcare centers immediately would negatively, and in some areas severely, impact the ability of healthcare workers and others to report to work at a time when we need them making critical preparations.
- As we all know, there are also many students who have special, often significant, needs or who rely on school for much of their food. We should not close schools until there are effective plans in place to meet the needs of these students.
Vermont State Police barracks are staffed, and members are continuing to respond to calls. In some cases, the agency will change the way it handles those calls. For instance, troopers will physically respond to major case investigations such as homicide, and to calls regarding crimes in progress, motor vehicle crashes with injuries, missing persons cases and domestic assault, as a few examples. As needed, troopers may take precautions such as social distancing, consulting with medical first responders, and using personal protective equipment.
In other cases, such as minor motor vehicles crashes, vandalisms and thefts, the state police may take reports from the public over the phone. State police members are making these response decisions in consultation with supervisors. The Vermont State Police encourages people who are victims of these types of crimes to report them over the phone rather than by walking in at a barracks. Additionally, state police members are evaluating the necessity of trainings and travel and will curtail or reschedule those events as appropriate.
On Saturday, March 14, the Vermont Department of Health reported three new presumptive positive cases in Vermont of the new coronavirus COVID-19. To date, there are now four presumptive positive cases and one case that has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 227 Vermonters have tested negative for COVID-19, and state health officials are monitoring 191 people for symptoms of the disease.
The first is a Windsor County male in his 90s. He is hospitalized at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in White River Junction. The second is a Washington County male in his 50s. He was initially treated at Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) in Berlin. He is currently in home isolation, following CVMC’s home care protocols. The third new presumptive positive case is also a male in his 50s. He is a resident of Westchester County, New York and is receiving care at Springfield Hospital in Springfield.
Rep. Peter Welch voted early Saturday, March 14 for emergency legislation (H.R. 6201) to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease and help affected Americans. The bill passed provides assistance to individuals and families who are impacted by the outbreak.
The newly passed bill:
- Ensures that all Americans have access to free testing for coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Establishes paid emergency leave, including both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.
- Enhances Unemployment Insurance, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.
- Suspends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or 3SquaresVT in Vermont) work requirements.
- Gives schools flexibility on how free and reduced-price lunches are delivered in case of school closures. The Vermont Agency of Education received a federal waiver yesterday allowing for greater flexibility to deliver meals.
- Boosts Medicaid funding for states during the crisis.
- Provides additional funding for home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors.
Friday, March 13
On Friday, March 13, Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus during a press conference. He is taking action to limit the size of public gatherings and suspending some medical regulations to bolster health care capacity.
The Governor’s executive order outlines several new actions, including restricting visitor access to hospitals and facilities that house and serve the elderly and very ill; prohibiting non-essential gatherings of more than 250 people in a single room or a single space; and prohibiting all non-essential out-of-state travel by state employees. More details are included in the executive order, which can be found here.
The Vermont General Assembly will suspend the 2020 legislative session for one week, at which time the Joint Rules Committee, composed of bipartisan leadership of both chambers, will reassess based on public health information. This suspension is out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of the statewide public health as well as concern for staff, legislators, press, and public given the prevalence of COVID-19.
On Friday, March 13, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak following a week of cancellations, suspensions and growing case numbers that unsettled Americans nationwide.
The President invoked the Stafford Act, which is the statutory authority for “most federal disaster response activities.” The Stafford Act gives access to the funds and the national emergency gives access to authorities
The following organizations, in alphabetical order, have announced they will be closed:
Abbott Memorial Library, South Pomfret: They will be closed to the public until further notice. If you are in need of library services, however, please telephone 457-2236, or email email@example.com. We are happy to provide ‘curbside’ pick up of books, movies, and audiobooks; home delivery; printing of tax forms; etc., as the staff will continue to work at the library during the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Danforth Library, Barnard: The library will close until further notice beginning on March 18. This includes all classes and meetings held in the Book Room or the Holway Community Room. If you have questions, please contact one of the Trustees or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eshqua Bog, Hartland: The Nature Conservancy announced they are closing the Eshqua Bog for safety reasons. “During the change in seasons our stewardship staff goes out to our natural areas to make sure our trails aren’t blocked, trees aren’t down, and parking areas are accessible. Unfortunately our staff are not deemed essential workers so they can’t participate in that stewardship activity.”
Hartland Public Library, Hartland: They are closed through March 31 and has discontinued all events through May 2.
Hartland Town Hall, Hartland: As of 4 p.m. on March 19, they will be closing the Hartland Town Offices to the public. However, Town staff will continue to be here and we will remain accessible by phone or email.
Lebanon Opera House, Lebanon, N.H.: They will be closed until April 30. Contact them for refunds or to find out when events will be rescheduled.
Mertens House, Woodstock: They will be closed to outside visitors until further notice.
Mont Vert Cafe, Woodstock: They will be closed as of Tuesday, March 17. They plan to reopen in congruence with the public school system, but will keep the community posted as things continue to develop.
Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich: They will be closed until April 3. This includes cancellations of all public programming, group visits, and museum rentals.
Norman Williams Public Library, Woodstock: The library will be closed from Monday, March 16 to March 31. All programming and events have been cancelled. Children’s library story times will be recorded, visit the website for more information.
Pentangle Arts, Woodstock: They have suspended all programming. The office remains open.
Pomfret Town Office is closed to the public effective immediately and until further notice. The Town Office staff will remain available to assist you by phone and email. Town Office hours remain the same. To reach Pomfret Town Office staff, call 802-457-3861, or email Town Clerk, Becky Fielder, at email@example.com; Treasurer, Ellen DesMeules, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many forms and documents that you may need can be found on our website at pomfretvt.us.
Scotland House Adult Day Care and Wellness, Quechee: They will close to participants on March 17. Their goal is to re-open for services on April 15.
The Thompson, Woodstock: Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, for a two-week period, The Thompson will not be open for lunch, programs, meetings, rentals, or transportation. The Thompson staff will continue to serve our patrons at home by:
- Delivering meals and grocery necessities
- Offering “drive-by” meal pick-up at The Thompson
- Providing daily phone chats
- Coordinating regular programs online or via conference call
- Continuing our Aging at Home support services with medical equipment, referrals to vetted service providers, and more.
Upper Valley Aquatic Center, White River Junction: They are going to suspend operations from Wednesday, March 18 to Tuesday, March 31. Masters swimming practices, swim team practices, swim lessons, group fitness classes and small group training is cancelled.
Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Quechee: They will be closed until April 26. The Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation is open for service, and they have adopted new admission standards for patients to be brought into our care. They are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
West Windsor Town Hall is closed to the public until further notice. If you need assistance, contact the office by phone, email, or U.S. mail (P.O. Box 6; Brownsville, VT 05037). If you need to drop off documents, there is a drop box on the door.
Woodstock Farmers Market, Woodstock: They are currently formulating a plan to provide curbside pickup in lieu of regular shopping hours. Tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, March 17, they will begin taking orders for curbside pickup only. Effective immediately, the Woodstock location will be closed for regular shopping as we determine the best course of action moving forward. At this point our prepared foods options will be limited, if available at all.
Woodstock Inn & Resort, Woodstock: They will be closed until March 30. Anyone who has a reservation through March 30 will receive a refund or can leave deposits on credit for a future stay.
Zack’s Place, Woodstock: They will be closed until March 20 and will be assessing the situation to determine when they should re-open.
Cancelled or postponed events
The following events, in alphabetical order, have been postponed or cancelled:
The Annual Woodstock Village Meeting has been postponed to Tuesday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m., at the Town Hall Theater. Polls are open at Town Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Following the Village Meeting, there will be a re-organizational meeting, which will include the restructuring of the board and municipal appointments.
As You Like It, Woodstock Union High School Middle School, has been postponed to an undetermined date.
Ascutney Outdoors is cancelling open mic night on March 21.
BarnArts will be postponing the March 16 and 17 auditions for the summer production of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” with hopes of rescheduling in April and remaining on target for May rehearsals.
Billings Farm & Musuem’s Woodstock Film Series scheduled for March 21, April 4 and April 18 are going to be postponed and rescheduled for later in the spring.
Cabin Fever Spaghetti Dinner at Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society scheduled for April 4 has been cancelled.
Classical music concerts at Woodstock’s UU Church (The Northeast Universalist Chapel Society) scheduled for March, April, and May have had to be cancelled.
Community Prom in Hartland has been postponed to an undetermined date.
Covered Bridges Half Marathon has been postponed until June 6, 2021.
Fantastic Fungi at Pentangle Arts in Woodstock was scheduled for March 26 and has been cancelled.
Glad Rags will be postponing its spring sale until a later date. Saturday collections will continue as scheduled, March 21 and 28 and April 4 and 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Simmons House in Woodstock.
Hartland Community Breakfast was schedule for March 14 has been cancelled as well as the follow up meeting on March 18.
Hartland Rabies Clinic scheduled for March 18 has been postponed.
Love, Loss and What I Wore at ArtisTree in South Pomfret was scheduled for March 19-21 has been postponed to an undetermined date. Also cancelled or postponed:
Opening Reception for MUD (Season) on March 27 – POSTPONED
Sprout Out: The stories & art of Eric Carle on March 28 – CANCELLED
Celebrating Women in Music on March 28 – POSTPONED
Concert with Matthew Odell on March 29 – POSTPONED
Open Mic Nights – CANCELLED until further notice
Mix, Mingle & Make – CANCELLED until further notice
Man of La Mancha by We the People Theatre at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction was scheduled for March 20 to April 5 has been postponed to an undetermined date.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Parkrun in Woodstock has been suspended through the end of March.
Nearly New Sale has been cancelled. If you have the space, please keep putting things aside because they hope to reschedule for the fall.
Race Around the Lake by BarnArts will not be held on the scheduled
date of May 17. They remain in conversation with the VT State Park
administration to reschedule the race to the soonest date gatherings will be permissible.
Revels North Spring Singers at Damon Hall in Hartland was scheduled to perform in Hartland on March 22 has been cancelled. The performance at the First Congregational Church in Lebanon, N.H. on March 20 will be recorded but will not be open to the public.
Rotary Club of Woodstock are cancelling their meetings for March 18, March 25 and the mixer on April 1. They are waiting to hear if the Governors Reception will be taking place.
Vermont Overland Maple Adventure Ride in West Windsor was scheduled for March 22, and has been postponed until Nov. 14.
The Woodstock Fireman’s Ball scheduled for April 3 has been cancelled. This celebration will be rescheduled at a later time during the year. More
information will be distributed when it becomes available.
The Public House, 5813 Woodstock Road, Quechee: Open from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Current menu on Facebook. Call 802-295-8500 or use messenger on Facebook to place an order.
Windsor Station, 26 Depot Ave., Windsor: Open daily from 3 to 8 p.m. for take out, curb-side pick up and some local delivery. All payments will be taken over for phone and pick up times staggered for minimal contact. For specials and updates, visit Facebook. Call 802- 674-4180 to place an order.
Worthy Kitchen, 442 Woodstock Road, Woodstock: Open Wednesday and Thursday, from 4 to 8 p.m., and Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For specials and updates, visit Facebook. Call 802-457-7281 to place an order.
The following organizations have announced they will be operating but with changes to how they will be interacting with patrons:
Barnard General Store, Barnard: The store is open Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Deli items are for take-out only, calling your order in ahead is strongly encouraged.
Billings Farm & Museum is now offering a variety of dairy and maple products available for purchase on the website to be picked up curbside on Tuesdays, from 1 to 3 p.m. Check out the selection of Billings Farm cheddar cheeses, Top Acres maple syrup, Norwich Farm Creamery yogurt and milk and other products at www.billingsfarm.org/curbside-pickup. Place your order online by midnight on Monday and pick it up Tuesday outside of the Billings Farm & Museum Visitor Center. Call upon arrival or when you expect to arrive at 802-356-2967 or just pull up and honk!
The Hartland Food Shelf is still open every Friday from 8 to 10 a.m. However, our guidelines have changed somewhat. A staff member will be at the door and will allow only one shopper in at a time. Everyone is required to wear plastic gloves and a face mask. If you don’t have them, we may have them for you. The alternative is that you convey to the person at the door what supplies you need and someone inside will fill your order as completely as possible and bring the bags outside to you. If you are in need of food and cannot travel to the food shelf, call Carmen at 802-436-2300 and arrange for delivery of whatever items we have on hand that you need.
The Reading West-Windsor Food Shelf is open every Monday, from 2 to 4 p.m., and Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m. The shelves are fully stocked and they welcome the opportunity to assist residents who are in need of food. Please stop by the stone school house, 3456 Tyson Road, South Reading.
If you need food and are unable to get to the Food Shelf, please call one of these numbers:
Mary Springer, Reading Health Officer, at 802- 484-7431, cell 802-245-4121
Calista Brennan, Reading Town Clerk, at 802-484-7520, cell 802-356-7023
Dana Waters, Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf Director, at 802-484-0095, cell 802-291-3299
The Teago Store is open the following times: Monday to Friday, 12 to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Deli orders placed ahead of time would be appreciated if you know what you’d like. Please telephone (802) 457-1626 to place your order and have it ready to go when you arrive, or if you have any questions.
Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired: They are still open and functioning remotely. Anyone who has found that vision loss has affected their ability to function independently with technology, reading, in the kitchen, and other areas of life, can call them to connect with services. The intake number is 800-639-5861, ext. 214.
Woodstock Community Food Shelf, Woodstock. Their hours are Monday from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to Noon. Visitors will stay in their car and be brought the bags of food by volunteers. Each visitor to the food shelf will receive a pre-packed bag of groceries, both non perishable and the fresh produce, dairy, frozen meat and eggs.
Woodstock Pharmacy, Woodstock: They are going to remain open to make sure people are able to get their medication. They request customers minimize the time you spend in the pharmacy, call ahead and make a payment with a credit card and wait outside or in your car until your prescription is ready. The back door to the rear parking lot and the gift shop front door will remain locked until the emergency is over. If you are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, your prescriptions can be mailed.
Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock: Beginning on Wednesday, March 18, they will be taking orders by phone, email and their website for curbside pickup or for delivery/shipping. For the health and safety of the community, the store will no longer be open for browsing at this time.