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YCQM July 12, 2020

(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 12, 2020 at 2:52 PM EDT
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>> DARREN: GOOD MORNING, I'M DARREN PERRON.

RIGHT NOW ON "YOU CAN QUOTE ME," RUNNERS WILL HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR TO HIT THE PAVEMENT FOR THE VERMONT CITY MARATHON.

WE SPOKE TO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ABOUT WHY RUNNERS AREN'T GETTING REFUNDS AND WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE ORGANIZATION.

ALSO, WHAT CAN VERMONT LEARN FROM TEXAS?

WE'LL TALK TO A REPORTER COVERING THE SPIKING CASES OF COVID THERE.

PLUS STRICT NEW RULES FOR RETURNING STUDENTS.

AND THAT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS MORNING.

56,000 COLLEGE STUDENTS NOW KNOW THE RULES TO RETURN TO CAMPUSES THIS FALL.

WE'LL TALK TO RICHARD SCHNEIDER, THE FORMER PRESIDENT AT NORWICH UNIVERSITY WHO HELPED SET UP THE GUIDELINES IN JUST A MOMENT.

BUT FIRST, HERE'S CAT VIGLIENZONI TO KICK OFF OUR COVERAGE.

>> I BELIEVE WE CAN TAKE THIS STEP FORWARD IN THE FALL.

>> REPORTER: VERMONT GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT SAYING TUESDAY HE TBLEEFS STATE'S COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES CAN SAFELY REOPEN FOR ON CAMPUS LEARNING THIS FALL.

>> THE STATE OF VERMONT AMES TO MAKE VERMONT THE SAFEST PLACE TO GO TO COLLEGE.

>> REPORTER: FORMER FOR WISH UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT RICH SCHNEIDER LED THE TASK FORCE TO CREATE GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF, INCLUDING MANDATORY TESTING AND QUARANTINE FOR STUDENTS RETURNING TO CAMPUS.

A HEALTH SAFETY CONTRACT THAT STUDENTS AND STAFF HAVE TO SIGN AND THAT OFFICIALS SAY WILL BE ENFORCED TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE NOT PUTTING OTHERS AT RISK.

PENALTIES COULD BE ANYTHING FROM A WARNING TO EXPULSION FROM CAMPUS.

STUDENTS AND STAFF WILL BE SCREENED EACH DAY.

DINING WILL BE AT ASSIGNED TIMES OR TAKEOUT.

CLASSROOMS WILL SPACE STUDENTS 6 FEET APART.

MASKS WILL BE MANDATORY.

NO MORE THAN TWO STUDENTS LIVING IN A DORM ROOM.

AND STUDENTS WILL LIKELY BE SENT HOME AT THANKSGIVING AND RETURN IN THE SPRING TO MINIMIZE TRAVEL.

THEY'LL BE LEARNING ONLINE DURING THAT TIME.

ATHLETICS IS STILL A BIG QUESTION MARK.

DESPITE ALL OF THOSE CHANGES, SCHNEIDER SAYS STUDENTS STILL WANT TO COME BACK TO CAMPUS, AND SAYS IT'S UP TO STUDENTS TO ACT IN A WAY THAT DOESN'T PUT OTHERS AT RISK.

>> WE HAVE TO MAKE IT THE SOCIAL NORM THAT THAT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA.

AND IT'S NOT COOL TO DO THAT.

YOU ARE RISKING YOUR CLASSMATES' LIVES, AND THEIR PARENTS AND THEIR FACULTY MEMBERS AND THEIR LOVED ONES.

THAT'S NOT AN ADULT BEHAVIOR.

>> REPORTER: BUT STUDENTS WE SPOKE WITH IN BURLINGTON WERE SKEPTICAL OF THEIR PEERS.

YOU THINK STUDENTS WILL BEHAVE?

>> NO.

WE HAVE RULES NOW THAT PEOPLE DON'T FOLLOW. OE AND MEGHAN ARE BOTH JUNIORS.

HE'S WORRIED ABOUT ABOUT HAVING TO ENFORCE THIS IS GUIDELINES.

KENNEDY SAYS WHILE SHE KNOWS THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT, SHE'S HEARING FROM FELLOW STUDENTS WHO ARE FRUSTRATED ABOUT PAYING FULL TUITION FOR A PARTIAL EXPERIENCE.

>> A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE REALLY DISAPPOINTED THAT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE EXACTLY THE SAME AS NORMAL COLLEGE WOULD BE, ESPECIALLY SINCE WE'RE STILL PAYING FULL PRICE TO ATTEND SCHOOL.

>> REPORTER: BECAUSE SOME TOLD US ONLINE LEARNING OFTEN ISN'T AS EFFECTIVE.

>> THERE'S DEFINITELY SOME THINGS THAT I WOULD MISS FROM ONLINE CLASSES, LIKE I DEFINITELY WOULDN'T GET AS MUCH OUT OF MY CLASSES FROM THEM BEING ONLINE.

>> IT'S SO UNSURE, WE FEEL LIKE WE MIGHT END UP IN THE SAME PLACE WE WERE LAST SEMESTER.

>> REPORTER: WE'LL HAVE FULL GUIDANCE ON OUR WEBSITE WITH THIS STORY.

ANOTHER GROUP THAT IS POTENTIALLY IN LIMBO THIS FALL ARE THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS SAID THAT IF THEIR LEARNING IS ALL THE ONLINE THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE GROUNDS TO STAY IN THE U.S.

AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE, OFFICIALS MADE IT CLEAR THEY OPPOSE THAT MOVE AND THEY HOPE THE FEDS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENT DECISION.

IN BURLINGTON, CAT VIGLIENZONI, CHANNEL 3 NEWS.

>> DARREN: RICHARD SCHNEIDER JOINS ME NOW.

GOOD MORNING.

>> GOOD MORNING.

HOW ARE YOU?

>> DARREN: I'M DOING WELL, THANK YOU.

HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT SCHOOLS CAN OPEN TO STUDENTS SAFELY?

>> I THINK VERY CONFIDENT, DARREN.

WE ARE USING THE BEST SCIENCE THAT'S AVAILABLE.

DR. LA REASON AND HIS WONDERFUL STAFF HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLY HELPFUL.

OUR GUIDELINES ARE ENFORCING OUR COLLEGES TO BE MORE TESTING THAN THE C.D.C. EVEN REQUIRES.

SO IT'S A MATTER OF CAN WE START THE SEMESTER WITHOUT INFECTION, CAN WE KEEP IT THAT WAY, AND WHEN WE DO HAVE INFECTION WE GET IT QUICKLY, WE'LL BE IN GREAT SHAPE.

>> DARREN: SO STUDENTS AND STAFF HAVE TO SIGN THESE HEALTH CONTRACTS THAT CAT MENTIONED IN ORDER TO RETURN TO CAMPUS.

WHAT DO THOSE CONTRACTS SAY SPECIFICALLY?

>> WELL, THEY'RE STILL BEING WRITTEN, IN ALL FAIRNESS, AND I THINK EVERY SCHOOL IS TAKING THEIR OWN PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH.

NORWICH IS TAKING ONE THAT DEALS WITH E, WE HAVE PROTECTED THIS REPUBLIC FOR 200 YEARS, YOUR ACTIONS TODAY PROTECT OUR CITIZENS OF VERMONT, WHICH WE'RE SWORN TO PROTECT.

WE'RE TRYING TO TOUCH THEIR BEST INNER BEING ABOUT BEHAVING PROPERLY, BUT IT WILL BE VERY SPECIFIC.

LIKE NO LARGE PARTIES, YOU MUST BE MASKED IN CLASS, YOU MUST PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING, ALL THE THINGS THAT WE'VE LAID OUT IN THOSE GUIDELINES ARE GOING TO BE IN THAT SOCIAL CONTRACT.

>> DARREN: AND THIS IS FOR ON AND OFF CAMPUS STUDENTS, RIGHT?

HOW DO YOU ENFORCE THAT, THOUGH, IF THESE FOLKS ARE OFF CAMPUS?

>> WELL, THAT'S VERY DIFFICULT, TO BE QUITE HONEST.

IT'S ALMOST LIKE THE HONOR SYSTEM, JUST LIKE WE'RE HOLDING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND EVERYONE ELSE TO THE GOOD STANDARDS OF HYGIENE AND BEING PROTECTIVE OF OTHER PEOPLE.

BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS YOU CAN'T ENFORCE SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN'T SEE.

BUT IT'S A MATTER OF SETTING EXPECTATIONS.

WE HOPE THERE'S A LOT OF PEER PRESSURE FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING.

AND THE STANDARDS WE NEED, OUR UPPER CLASS MEN IN PARTICULAR AS THEY APPROACH THE UNDER CLASS MEN AND OUR NEW STUDENTS, HOW TO BE RESPONSIBLE COLLEGE STUDENTS, IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER TODAY.

>> DARREN: THESE CALL FOR LIMITING THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS IN DORM ROOMS.

ARE SCHOOLS WORRIED THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE ENOUGH ROOMS IF THEY'RE SPREADING KIDS OUT SO MUCH?

>> WELL, THIS IS VERY COMPLICATED PROBLEM, AND NO COLLEGE PRESIDENT KNOWS HOW BIG HIS FRESHMAN CLASS IS GOING TO BE, OR HER FRESHMAN CLASS IS GOING TO BE, WE DON'T KNOW.

WE HAVE A LOT OF STUDENTS WHO HAVE DEPOSITED WHO KEEP TELLING US THEY'RE COMING.

BUT I THINK A LOT OF PARENTS AND STUDENTS ARE THINKING ABOUT, WELL, DO WE WANT TO TAKE A GAP YEAR, WHAT ABOUT SPORTS, THAT HASN'T BEEN ANSWERED YET.

THE IVIES DID COME OUT YESTERDAY, I'M SURE YOUR LISTENERS PROBABLY HEARD THAT REPORT, FOR THE IVIES, NO, IN FALL ANY WAY, ATHLETICS.

THAT'S GOING TO RIPPLE THROUGH THE INDUSTRY VERY QUICKLY, DARREN.

SO THERE'S A LOT OF CHANGE IN THE ATMOSPHERE RIGHT NOW.

NORMALLY COLLEGE PRESIDENTS CAN PREDICT WITHIN THREE OR FOUR PERCENT HOW MANY STUDENTS WILL SHOW UP.

NONE OF THOSE MODELS WILL BE RELIABLE THIS YEAR.

>> DARREN: IN ADDITION TO THE LIST THAT CAT GAVE, THE NUMBER OF VISITORS WILL BE LIMITED, TOO, RIGHT?

>> YES, IN FACT EVEN ON ARRIVAL DAY, TWO PEOPLE CAN COME BUT THEY HAVE TO BE QUARANTINED WITH YOU OR IN WHATEVER WAY IT WOULD BE TO LIVE BY THE VERMONT STANDARDS, BUT NO VISITORS ARE ALLOWED IN THE DORMS.

>> DARREN: STUDENTS ARE GOING HOME AT THANKSGIVING, COMING BACK IN THE SPRING BY THE SOUNDS OF THINGS.

WILL SCHOOLS THEN RETEST, QUARANTINE, START THAT WHOLE PROCESS ALL OVER AGAIN?

>> DARREN, WE WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO KEEP THEM SAFE.

LISTEN, WE WANT TO STAY OPEN AND WE WANT THE STUDENTS WITH US.

WE DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO TURN AND PIVOT LIKE WE DID THIS MARCH AND SEND EVERYONE HOME.

WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE THAT HAPPEN. SO IT'S IN OUR ENLIGHTENED SELF INTEREST, EVERY SCHOOL, TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T GET INFECTED.

SO WHAT WE DECIDED TO DO IS EVERYONE WILL GO HOME AT THANKSGIVING, THEY'LL PROBABLY STILL BE INSTRUCTION AFTER THANKSGIVING OR FINAL EXAMS OR THINGS LIKE THAT, DEPENDING ON THE INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL'S CURRICULUM, THEN WE'LL ASSESS WITH DR. LEVINE AND HIS TEAM'S HELP, WHAT IS THE MEDICAL SITUATION WHEN SPRING HAPPENS, AND WE'LL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES.

THE NATION COULD BE IN WORSE SHAPE THAN IT IS RIGHT NOW, WE DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.

>> DARREN: YOU VOLUNTEERED TO LEAD THIS RESTART TASK FORCE.

WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT RULE TO PUT IN PLACE?

>> OH, WOW.

GETTING COLLEGE RESIDENTS TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING?

THEY'RE ALL VERY INDEPENDENT THINKERS, AS YOU CAN WELL IMAGINE.

BUT I THINK THERE'S BEEN GOOD SPIRIT ABOUT, THIS BECAUSE THE THING THAT BINDS US IS PROTECTING OUR STUDENTS AND STAFF.

SO I HAVEN'T HAD A PROBLEM.

I'VE ENJOYED IT, TO BE QUITE HONEST, ALTHOUGH I DID PROMISE I'D GIVE MY WIFE SIX MONTHS OF NOT DOING ANYTHING, AND I BROKE THAT PROMISE ON THE FIRST DAY WHEN THE GOVERNOR CALLED AND SAID WILL YOU HELP ME, AND I SAID OF COURSE I'LL HELP.

SO I LOVE IT, TO BE HONEST, WORKING WITH ALL MY COLLEAGUES, IT'S MADE THE TRANSITION TO RETIREMENT EASIER, I THINK.

>> DARREN: JUST TO BE CLEAR, THESE ARE THE BASELINE RULES, SCHOOLS CAN BE MORE STRICT IF THEY WANT?

>> I'M SO GLAD YOU SAID THAT.

ABSOLUTELY.

IN FACT, I KNOW THREE OR FOUR RIGHT NOW THAT ARE GOING TO MAKE MAYOR FACULTY AND STAFF TAKE TESTS, THAT IS THE PHYSICAL TEST FOR COVID-19.

THAT'S NOT A C.D.C. REQUIREMENT, IN FACT IT'S NOT EVEN A VERMONT LET'S START WORK REQUIREMENT.

WE ALSO ARE TESTING OUR STUDENTS IN THE STATEMENTS HERE, IN THE GUIDELINES, MUCH MORE THAN THE FEDERAL C.D.C. REQUIRES.

THEY'VE SAID THERE'S REALLY NO NEED TO TEST STUDENTS UPON ARRIVAL.

I THINK THAT'S A MISTAKE, OUR COLLEGE PRESIDENTS THINK IT'S A MASS TAKE, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE WE START IN A GREAT PLACE SO WE CAN ASSESS WHERE WE ARE.

SO THESE ARE THE MINIMUM STANDARDS.

ANY SCHOOL CAN GO TOUGHER THAN THAT.

AND IT'S IN OUR SELF INTEREST TO BE STRONG.

>> DARREN: DURING THE PRESS CONFERENCE WHEN YOU ANNOUNCED THESE GUIDELINES, YOU SAID, "I WOULD LOVE FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE BRAVE LITTLE STATE OF VERMONT." WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?

>> WELL, I'M VERY PROUD OF OUR STATE, DARREN.

WE GOT A LOT OF STUFF DONE.

WE HAVE REALLY HUGE IDEAS, AND OF COURSE WE ALL KNOW EACH OTHER.

THE FACT THAT I KNOW YOU AND I KNOW THE GOVERNOR, I'M A COLLEGE PRESIDENT.

WHEN I WAS A SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AT DREXEL I COULDN'T EVEN GET MY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES GUYS TO CALL ME BACK.

HERE WE KNOW SENATOR LAHEY AND OUR CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION.

THIS STATE HAS SO MUCH POWER IN IT, AND IT'S BECAUSE WE'RE SMALL.

BUT THAT MAKES US RESOURCE WISE A LITTLE LIMITED, BUT WE DON'T WASTE ANY MONEY.

SO I'M VERY CONFIDENT THAT WE CAN HANDLE THIS.

OUR CAMPUSES ARE RELATIVELY SMALL COMPARED TO MOST OF THE WORLD, I MEAN WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN WHICH HAS MORE PEOPLE THAN THE WHOLE CITY OF BURLINGTON.

SO I THINK WE CAN DO IT HERE.

IF WE CAN'T DO IT, IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY, I GUESS THAT'S MY POINT.

WE ARE --

IF WE CAN'T DO IT HERE IN THIS PROUD LITTLE STATE, THE COUNTRY CAN'T DO IT ANYWHERE.

>> DARREN: RICHARD SCHNEIDER, THANK YOU.

STAY SAFE AND BE HEALTHY.

NICE TO SEE YOU.

>> THANK YOU.

YOU TOO, SIR.

>> DARREN: NEXT A FORMER VERMONT JOURNALIST NOW IN TEXAS TALKS ABOUT THE SPIKE IN COVID CASES THERE, AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM IT.

AND WHY ORGANIZERS SAY THE VERMONT CITY MARATHON WAS A NONSTARTER THIS FALL.

>> DARREN: VERMONT HAS ONE OF THE LOWEST COVID INFECTION RATES IN THE COUNTRY, AND HAS BEEN APPLAUDED BY HEALTH OFFICIALS FOR THE STATE'S EFFORTS TO CONTAIN THE VIRUS.

MEANWHILE, COVID CASES ARE SURGING IN OTHER STATES INCLUDING TEXAS.

THE LONE STAR STATE REPORTED MORE THAN 10,000 NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES ON TUESDAY, SMASHING ITS PREVIOUS RECORD FOR SINGLE DAY INCREASES.

AND BECOMING THE LATEST STATE TO REACH THIS GRIM MILESTONE.

HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE ALSO REACHING RECORD HIGHS.

TO TALK ABOUT THE TALE OF TWO STATES, WE ARE JOINED NOW BY ZACH DESPART, A FORMER WCAX EMPLOYEE AND VERMONT REPORTER WHO NOW WRITES FOR THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE IN TEXAS.

GOOD MORNING, NICE TO SEE YOU, ZACH.

>> GOOD TO SEE YOU, DARREN, THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> DARREN: YOU BET.

LIKE VERMONT, TEXAS WAS ONCE PRAISED FOR ITS COVID RESPONSE.

WHAT HAPPENED, AND WHAT CAN VERMONT LEARN FROM THAT?

>> SURE.

TEXAS, UNLIKE THE NORTHEAST, WAS NOT THAT HARD HIT IN THE SPRING AND THE WHITE HOUSE AS LATE AS APRIL HAD PRAISED HOW TEXAS HAD HANDLED THE PANDEMIC.

TEXAS HAD A MUCH SHORTER STAY AT HOME PERIOD THAN A LOT OF OTHER STATES DID.

OUR STAY AT HOME LASTED FROM THE END OF APRIL UNTIL THE END OF MAY.

AND ON MAY 1ST IS WHEN WE STARTED TO OPEN UP BUSINESSES.

IT WAS A PHASED APPROACH, WE STARTED WITH 25% CAPACITY IN A LOT OF PLACES AND INCREASED THAT TO 50 AND 75% AS THE WEEKS WORE ON.

NOW, AT FIRST IT APPEARED THAT THIS STRATEGY WAS WORKING, IF YOU LOOK AT THE NEW CASES, IF YOU LOOKED AT THE HOSPITALIZATIONS THROUGH THE MONTH OF MAY, THEY WERE PARTICULARLY FLAT, WHICH MANY PEOPLE TOOK AS A GOOD SIGN.

BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT TEXAS DID WHICH WAS DIFFERENT THAN VERMONT IS WHEN WE REOPENED, WE DID NOT HAVE A STEADY DECLINE IN NEW CASES, LIKE YOU GUYS DID.

OUR CASES PEAKED IN THE MIDDLE OF APRIL AND THEY STAYED FLAT, AND THAT CONCERNED DOCTORS BECAUSE THEY WERE NATIONALLY DECLINING.

SO MAY LOOKED OKAY, MEMORIAL DAY WAS A CRUCIAL PERIOD BECAUSE BUSINESSES HAD MORE CAPACITY AT THIS POINT.

PEOPLE TOOK THE VIRUS LESS SERIOUSLY, THEY WENT TO BEACHES, TO RESTAURANTS, THEY GOT TOGETHER WITH FAMILY.

AND FROM THE END OF MAY THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF JUNE YOU START TO SEE A SUSTAINED INCREASE IN NEW CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS, THAT LASTS ALL THE WAY THROUGH UNTIL THE LAST WEEK IN JUNE.

AT THAT POINT HERE IN HOUSTON WE HAVE THE LARGEST MEDICAL HOSPITAL SYSTEM IN THE WORLD, AND THE END OF JUNE THEY REACHED 100% OF THEIR BASE I.C.U. CAPACITY, WHICH ALARMED A LOT OF PEOPLE.

AND AT THAT POINT IS WHEN THE GOVERNOR CAME OUT AND SAID, YOU KNOW WHAT, THIS IS ALL TRENDING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, WE'VE GOT TO THROW THIS REOPENING ON PAUSE.

HE AGAIN SHUT DOWN BARS, HE ISSUED A STATEWIDE MASK ORDER, AND HE SUSPENDED THE ABILITY OF HOSPITALS TO DO SOME ELECTIVE SURGERIES BECAUSE WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF I.C.U. BEDS TO PUT PEOPLE.

>> DARREN: RIGHT NOW WELL OVER 200,000 CASES IN TEXAS, MORE THAN 2700 DEAD.

HOUSTON WHERE YOU ARE, ONE OF THE HARDEST HIT.

WHAT SPECIFICALLY, ZACH, ARE YOU SEEING ON THE GROUND THERE, AND YOU MENTIONED THE HOSPITALS, MOST IMPORTANTLY WHAT'S THE LATEST ON HOSPITAL CAPACITY?

>> SURE.

THE SUSPENSION OF SOME ELECTIVE SURGERIES DID HELP THE HOSPITAL SYSTEM WITH THEIR CAPACITY.

WE HAVE BEEN SORT OF BACK AND FORTH RIGHT AROUND THE 100% BASE I.C.U. MARK.

THE HOSPITALS HAVE PREPARED MORE AND HAVE A SURGE CAPACITY, THAT'S THE AMOUNT OF BEDS THEY HAVE BEYOND THEIR NORMAL LIMITS.

AND THEY SAY WE ARE NOT PROJECTED TO EXCEED THAT CAPACITY FOR AT LEAST SEVERAL WEEKS.

SO THAT IS A GOOD SIGN.

ANOTHER GOOD SIGN IS PEOPLE AROUND HERE, AND I THINK ACROSS THE STATE ARE STARTING TO TAKE THE VIRUS MORE SERIOUSLY AGAIN.

I THINK THAT THE STATEWIDE MASK ORDER HAS HELPED THAT.

A LOT OF THE MESSAGING FROM STATE LEADERS IN MAY AND JUNE HAD BEEN, WELL, YOU SHOULD WEAR A MASK, YOU SHOULD SOCIAL DISTANCE, BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO REQUIRE THOSE THINGS.

AND A LOT OF TEXANS TOOK THAT AS A MESSAGE OF IT'S NOT THAT SERIOUS, WE CAN LET OUR GUARD DOWN, AND THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE WHEN A LOT OF PEOPLE DID THAT AND LED TO THE POSITION WE'RE IN NOW.

>> DARREN: VERMONT HAS BEEN VERY SLOW TO TURN THE SPIGOT, AS THE GOVERNOR CALLS IT, REOPENING BUSINESSES HERE, FEARING THAT THE VIRUS COULD SPREAD.

IS THAT SPECIFICALLY WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW THERE THAT YOU FOLKS ARE HITTING THE PAUSE BUTTON ON REOPENING?

BUT IS THIS TOO LITTLE TOO LATE?

AND WHAT ABOUT MASKS HERE, THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN KIND OF RELUCTANT TO ISSUE A STATEWIDE MANDATE.

>> SURE.

WE'RE NOT SURE IF THE MEASURES TAKEN BY THE GOVERNOR TO PUT A PAUSE ON THIS REOPENING ARE ULTIMATELY GOING TO GET US THE RESULTS THAT WE NEED.

THE LOCAL OFFICIALS HERE, THE COUNTY EXECUTIVES AND THE MAYORS IN THE BIGGEST COUNTIES, INCLUDING HOUSTON, THEY HAVE ASKED THE GOVERNOR FOR PERMISSION TO AGAIN REVERT TO A STAY AT HOME PERIOD, BECAUSE THEY ARE SO WORRIED ABOUT THE UNCONTROLLED SPREAD OF THE VIRUS.

IT'S GOING TO TAKE ANOTHER WEEK OR SO TO SEE THE EFFECT OF THE MASK ORDER, THE EFFECT OF CLOSING THE BARS, BECAUSE WE ARE EVERY DAY SETTING NEW HOSPITALIZATION RECORDS.

AND WE STILL ARE NOT CLOSE TO GETTING THE VIRUS BACK UNDER CONTROL.

IN TERMS OF WHAT VERMONT IS CONSIDERING, I THINK THERE'S SOMETHING TO BE SAID ABOUT ONLY OPENING IN ONE DIRECTION AND NOT HAVING TO REVERSE THAT.

FROM PURELY A MESSAGING STANDPOINT, ONCE YOU OPEN UP BUSINESSES AND SIGNAL TO PEOPLE THAT THE VIRUS IS SAFER THAN IT WAS BEFORE, IT'S HARD TO REVERT BACK AND SAY, I'M SORRY, YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE LISTENED TO US BEFORE, WE WERE WRONG, NOW YOU HAVE TO DO THIS.

AT LEAST WE'RE MOVING IN ONE DIRECTION AT THIS POINT IN INVESTMENT.

AND ON THE MASK ORDER, SIMILAR TO THE STAY AT HOME ORDER, IT IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THESE ARE LARGELY VOLUNTARY REQUESTS.

THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T HAVE IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY THE ABILITY WAY TO ENFORCE THESE RULESES.

WHAT MATTERS IS, ARE PEOPLE BELIEVING WHAT THE GOVERNMENT AND HEALTH EXPERTS ARE SAYING AND ARE THEY GOING TO FOLLOW THOSE RULES.

SO MESSAGING HERE IS REALLY KEY.

>> DARREN: ZACH DESPART AT THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE, THANK YOU, GREAT TO SEE YOU.

>> YOU TOO.

>> DARREN: NEXT I'LL ASK THE ORGANIZER OF THE VERMONT CITY MARATHON WHY THEY PULLED THE PLUG, WHERE THE MONEY IS, AND IF THE GROUP CAN BOUNCE BACK, AFTER THIS.

>> DARREN: VERMONT'S LARGEST SPORTING EVENT, THE VERMONT CITY MARATHON, WILL NOT HAPPEN THIS YEAR.

IT USUALLY TAKES PLACE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.

RUN VERMONT, THE GROUP THAT ORGANIZES THE MARATHON, FIRST PUSHED IT BACK TO OCTOBER BECAUSE OF COVID-19 AND CONCERNS ABOUT LARGE GATHERINGS.

BUT NOW IT'S CANCELED.

IF YOU REGISTERED FOR THE EVENT, YOU CAN EITHER RUN IN 2021 OR '22 OR LET RUN VERMONT KEEP YOUR MONEY AND PUT IT TOWARDS THEIR YOUTH PROGRAMS.

YOU HAVE UNTIL AUGUST 23RD TO DECIDE.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RUN VERMONT, PETER DELANEY, JOINS US NOW.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> THANK YOU, DARREN, IT'S A PLEASURE TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHAT.

>> DARREN: THANK YOU.

OBVIOUSLY A TOUGH DECISION FOR YOU ALL TO MAKE.

FIRST YOU POSTPONED THE RACE UNTIL THE FALL, NOW IT'S CANCELED.

HOW DID YOU COME TO THAT DECISION?

>> WELL, IT'S REALLY NOT A DECISION THAT WE MAKE.

IT'S SOMETHING THAT THE CONDITIONS THAT ARE DICTATED BY THE GOVERNOR'S TASK FORCE AND THE HEALTH COMMISSIONER IN TERMS OF WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES IN WHICH WE CAN OPERATE WITHIN THE GREATER COMMUNITY.

AND CERTAINLY WE WERE HOPEFUL THAT WE WOULD SEE CONDITIONS OPEN UP ENOUGH BY THE LATE FALL THAT WE'D BE ABLE TO PROCEED WITH THE RACE.

BUT IT'S BEEN INDICATED TO US THAT THAT'S UNLIKELY.

WE HOPE WE'LL SEE SOME MASS GATHERINGS OR LARGE OUTDOOR GATHERINGS OF A FEW HUNDRED PEOPLE, BUT WE WERE ADVISED THAT SEVERAL THOUSAND IS PROBABLY NOT IN ANYONE'S BEST INTEREST AT THIS TIME.

>> DARREN: SO THE ADMINISTRATION BASICALLY TOLD YOU TO CALL IT OFF?

>> WE TOOK THE GUIDELINES THAT THEY'VE BEEN ISSUING AND WE'VE HAD SOME CONVERSATIONS WITH THOSE FOLKS, AND IT JUST INDICATED THAT IT PROBABLY WASN'T GOING TO GET TO WHERE WE NEEDED IT TO IN ORDER TO PROCEED.

SO RUNNERS RIGHT NOW HAVE TO, IF THEY'RE GOING TO RUN A MARATHON IN THE LATE FALL, THEY'D BE LOOKING TO START THEIR TRAINING CYCLES, AND START THOSE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY LONG RUNS.

SO WE WANTED TO BE ABLE TO TELL THEM THAT, YEAH, IT'S A GO, OR NO, IT'S NOT LIKELY.

AND IT CERTAINLY LOOKED TO BE CERTAINLY A SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE IF WE WERE GOING TO NEED TO GET TO WHERE WE HAD ACCEPTABLE CONDITIONS.

AND THAT WAS JUST LOOKING UNLIKELY.

SO WE WANTED TO DO THE PROPER THING AND LET FOLKS KNOW THAT WE PROBABLY WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO PROCEED.

>> DARREN: SO, SPEAKING OF RUNNERS, YOU'RE NOT OFFERING REFUNDS.

WHY IS THAT?

>> WELL, THE VAST MAJORITY OF EXPENSES THAT ARE INCURRED FOR ANY GIVEN RACE ARE ACTUALLY SPENT WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE DAY OF THE RACE.

SO WE OBVIOUSLY INTERRUPTED THE REVENUE STREAM PROCEEDING TOWARDS THE MAY RACE, BUT WE HAD AN AWFUL LOT OF THE EXPENSES ALREADY INCURRED.

SO THOSE ARE COSTS, WE DON'T GET THOSE BACK, IT'S HARD TO REFUND MONEY THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN SPENT.

WE DID MAKE A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN OURDEFERRAL POLICY, SO WE OFFERED 100% CREDIT FOR ALL FEES PAID FOR 2020, TOWARDS EITHER THE 2021 RACE OR 2022, SO WE'RE TRYING TO GIVE FOLKS AS MANY OPTIONS AS POSSIBLE.

AND WE HOPE THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO HAVE EVERYBODY JOIN US COME MAY NEXT YEAR, AND LET THE COW BELLS RING.

>> DARREN: HOW MUCH MONEY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?

HOW MUCH DO YOU TYPICALLY RAISE FOR THE MARATHON?

>> MARATHON RUN VERMONT IN TOTAL IN ALL OUR RACES, WE GENERATE A LITTLE OVER A MILLION DOLLARS, AND IN A TYPICAL YEAR WE WILL BE PLUS OR MINUS $20,000 FROM A BREAK EVEN.

>> DARREN: AND YOUR NONPROFIT, THAT'S A LOT OF REVENUE, IS THE ORGANIZATION IN JEOPARDY BECAUSE THE MARATHON HAS BEEN CANCELED OR BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE PUT SO MUCH MONEY UP FRONT YOU'RE GOOD TO GO?

>> I WOULD SAY THAT WE HAVE HAD THE ABILITY OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS TO BUILD A LITTLE BIT OF A FINANCIAL RESERVE, A RAINY DAY FUND IF YOU WILL.

UNFORTUNATELY IT WAS A RAINY DAY FUND AND WE'VE JUST SEEN A CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE COME THROUGH.

SO IT'S GOING TO BE A CHALLENGE FOR US, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.

WE HOPE THAT WE HAVE A SOUND PLAN AND SOME GOOD FINANCIAL STRATEGIES.

BUT WE WANTED TO TAKE CARE OF OUR RUNNERS THE BEST WE COULD, SO THAT'S WHY WE'VE OFFERED THEM 100% CREDIT, ON ALL THE FEES THAT THEY'VE PAID.

AND WE THINK WE'LL CERTAINLY EXHAUST MANY OF OUR FINANCIAL RESERVES, AND WE'RE ALSO OBVIOUSLY WORKING WITH SOME OF THE PROGRAMS AT BOTH THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVEL TO SEE WHAT OTHER TYPES OF SUPPORT WE CAN GARNER SO THAT WE CAN MAKE SURE WE'RE READY AND IN SOLID SHAPE COME NEXT MAY.

>> DARREN: WHAT ABOUT RUN VERMONT'S STAFF, ANY POSITIONS IN JEOPARDY BECAUSE OF THIS?

HAVE THEY BEEN AFFECTED AT ALL?

>> NO, WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO, WE SECURED A PAYROLL PROTECTION LOAN THAT GOT US THROUGH AND WE HAVE SOME SEASONAL POSITIONS THAT WOULD NORMALLY TAKE SOME TIME OFF IN JUNE AND JULY.

SO WE'RE STATUS QUO THERE, AND WE'LL LOOK TO BRING FOLKS BACK ON BOARD AS SOON AS WE CAN START LIVE RACING AGAIN.

>> DARREN: AND SPEAKING OF THAT, DO YOU HAVE ANY RACES PLANNED, CAN YOU HOLD ANY RACES AT ALL TO TRY TO MAKE SOME MONEY?

>> WE ARE CURRENTLY HAVE THREE RACES ON THE CALENDAR, ONE WOULD BE SEPTEMBER 19TH, THE 5K VERMONT STATE CHAMPIONSHIP IN BURLINGTON.

THE FOLLOWING DAY IS A 10K RACE, THE ISLAND VINES.

AND WE WILL LOOK TO SCHEDULE OUR HALF UNPLUGGED, HALF MARATHON THAT WAS POSTPONED FROM APRIL, SOMETIME IN LATE OCTOBER, BUT WE STILL NEED TO, WE'RE WORKING DILIGENTLY WITH THE GOVERNOR'S RESTART TASK FORCE IN ORDER TO FIND RACE CONDITIONS AND FORMATS THAT WILL ALLOW US TO PROCEED WITH THOSE EVENTS.

>> DARREN: BASICALLY THOSE CAN CONTINUE BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT ATTRACTING THE LARGE CROWDS OF SPECTATORS THAT THE VERMONT CITY MARATHON WOULD?

>> WE HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE GO AHEAD FOR THEM YET.

WE CAN CONDUCT AN OUTDOOR EVENT OF 150 PEOPLE OR LESS RIGHT NOW.

THAT'S HARD FOR US TO MAKE ANY REAL HEAD WAY.

IT'S KIND OF LIKE THE RESTAURANTS OPENING AT 25%.

IT'S TOUGH TO MAKE MONEY WITH A SMALLER EVENT.

BUT WE'RE HOPING THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO FIND A WAY TO SCHEDULE A SUCCESSION OF SMALLER EVENTS OVER THE COURSE OF A COUPLE DAYS THAT MAY ALLOW US TO PROCEED.

BUT TIME WILL TELL.

THERE'S NO GIVENS IN THAT CONVERSATION YET.

>> DARREN: UNDERSTOOD.

PETER DELANEY FROM RUN VERMONT, THANK YOU.

BE SAFE, STAY HEALTHY.

>> THANK YOU, AND MAYBE WE'LL SEE YOU OUT THERE WITH SOME RUNNING SHOES ON, DARREN.

>> DARREN: THAT WILL DO IT FOR "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

HAVE A GREAT DAY, EVERYBODY.

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