What Vermont's 'new normal' might look like

Published: May. 13, 2020 at 3:31 PM EDT
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Even as Vermont slowly reopens, state officials warn that going back to pre-COVID society is a long way off. Our Cat Viglienzoni breaks down the "new normal" and what's here to stay.

Wednesday, Vermont's health commissioner said he's optimistic that Vermont could stay ahead of the coronavirus as we move forward to reopen the economy. Vermont's new COVID-19 cases have remained in the single digits, and we're well within capacity for hospitals, testing and tracing. Still, despite optimism there, Dr. Mark Levine said Vermont can't let its guard down.

"So this is not really the time to relax and suddenly see the data change and then have to return to a state of more behavior change and stay-at-home kind of philosophies. This is really a time to capitalize on our ability-- which we have now-- to contain the virus," Levine said.

He warned Vermonters that means getting used to the new normal. Among his list of what's "here to stay" for the immediate future:

-Physical distancing and facial coverings.

-Temperature and symptom checks at work.

-Routine COVID testing, though they hope that it might become easier for people to do.

-Restricted visitor policies at places where vulnerable populations live like long-term care homes.

-Summer concerts and other traditions may happen but they will look different and they won't be mass gatherings.

-Entertainment, spectator sports and schools will all be evolving.

The governor acknowledged that's a hard pill to swallow after a long two months of being under a state of emergency and with another extension planned for Friday.

"You've been there for each other," said Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, "and I can't thank you enough."

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