Scott to allow some businesses to reopen Monday

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 6:51 AM EDT
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Vermont Governor Phil Scott Friday said some businesses will be able to reopen by Monday but must adhere to strict safety precautions.

"We're not declaring victory because we're not out of the woods yet, but we are seeing some daylight," Scott said.

That daylight came in the form of new projections showing new COVID-19 cases averaged below four percent growth over the past 12 days and the curve plateauing. That new data was what gave state officials the confidence to slowly start reopening Vermont's economy.

"This will not be an opening of a floodgates. Instead, we will slowly turn on the spigot a quarter turn at a time," Scott said.

Some of the businesses allowed to start up again include small groups in construction, outdoor work like landscaping, realtors, and lawyers.

However, those employees who are returning to construction sites or other types of work on Monday will have to follow guidelines like not coming in if they're sick, washing their hands frequently, staying six-feet apart, and wearing cloth masks.

The governor also released five principles they'll follow as they reopen the state:

•Keeping an eye on the data.

•Maintaining readiness with testing and protective equipment.

•Doing more aggressive testing and tracing to identify new cases.

•Working smarter by phasing workers back in, keeping remote work for the forseeable future, and making plans for child care.

•And figuring out how to reopen outdoor recreation, restaurants and bars, and other entertainment responsibly.

That's welcome news for avid men's softball player Eric Chagnon. The Burlington man is itching to get back to the diamond. "It's been a very long -- and to put it bluntly -- boring process. But you've got to understand, it's better safe than sorry," Chagnon said.

The news that some outdoor businesses may be able to get back up and running is good for Ace Hardware. Though they haven't been hurting for business as people cooped up at home get their own projects done, they hear from people who are itching to get back to normal.

"For the first week or so, it was kind of a novelty. I think now it's a bit old and people want to get back at it," said the store's Brian Baird.

Others we spoke with, like Ryland Johnson of Burlington, are concerned that it may be too early to start easing up on restrictions. "Not good. I think being premature could be disastrous," he said.

Farmer's markets will be allowed to reopen on May 1 -- the rules around that are still being figured out. As for large gatherings like weddings or concerts, there is no time frame for when those will be allowed again.

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