Today Governor Phil Scott issued Addendum 10 to the prior Executive Order, which declared a state of emergency in Vermont because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Addendum 10 incorporates guidance (https://accd.vermont.gov/news/update-new-work-safe-additions-stay-home-stay-safe-order) from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (“ACCD”) issued in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health (“VDH”) and the Department of Public Safety/Vermont Emergency Management (“DPS/VEM”).
The Addendum states that Vermont will undertake a “phased approach to reopen the economy, balancing the need to restore and strengthen our overall social and economic wellbeing with the prevention of a resurgence of COVID-19.” The Addendum and supporting ACCD guidance outline “Phase 1” of a plan to gradually reopen Vermont’s economy. They also establish mandatory health and safety requirements for businesses operating during the ongoing state of emergency.
Phase 1: A Limited Reopening of Vermont’s Economy
Phase 1 becomes effective on April 20, 2020, and includes:
- Outdoor businesses and construction operations: Those who work exclusively or largely outdoors (such as civil engineers, site work, exterior construction, skilled trade, public works, energy and utility work, mining, forestry, environmental monitoring, landscaping, painting, tree work, park maintenance and delivery work) may resume operations with “micro-crews” of no more than 2 persons per location/job. Interior construction may occur in unoccupied structures with no more than 2 workers at a time, adhering to social distancing standards. Supporting operations may resume with the minimum number of employees necessary to support curbside pick-up and delivery services, so long as (i) they adhere to the mandatory health and safety standards outlined below, (ii) all orders are done online or over the phone, and (iii) only the minimum number of employees necessary to support curbside pick-up and delivery may be at any one site, store, or location.
- Indoor and outdoor retail operations: No in-store transactions are allowed at this time. All transactions must occur online or over the phone. Retailers may conduct limited operations, such as curbside pick-up, delivery services, and warehouse or distribution operations supporting curbside pick-up and delivery services. Only the minimum number of employees necessary to support curbside pick-up and delivery services are allowed at any one store, site, or location.
- Low or No-Contact, Single worker operations: No or low-contact professional services operating with a single worker (such as appraisers, realtors, municipal clerks, attorneys, property managers and pet care operators) may resume operations so long as (i) no more than 2 persons (i.e., the service provider and client) are present at one time, and (ii) they can comply with the mandatory health and safety requirements listed below.
- Remote work and remote services: All businesses shall, to the extent possible, continue procedures supporting remote work and telecommuting for all workers. Businesses are encouraged to continue procedures and practices maximizing on-line and telephone presence and service delivery. Businesses are encouraged to utilize phone and online orders for curb-side pick-up and delivery.
- Essential businesses: Business operations deemed “essential” may continue to operate under pre-existing guidance with the addition of the mandatory health and safety requirements for all business operations below.
Mandatory Health and Safety Requirements
All businesses operating during the ongoing state of emergency shall implement the following social distancing and health and sanitation measures in accordance with Vermont Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines:
- Employees shall not report to work or remain at work if they are sick or symptomatic, e., with fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.
- Employees must remain at least 6 feet apart from others while on the job.
- Employees must wear non-medical cloth face-coverings over their nose and mouth when in the presence of others.
- Retail cashiers may forego a cloth face-covering in lieu of a translucent shield or “sneeze guard.”
- Employees must have easy and frequent access to soap and water or hand sanitizer during the duration of work.
- Handwashing or hand sanitization should be required before entering and leaving the job site.
- All workplace common spaces and equipment (including bathrooms, frequently touched surfaces, doors, tools, other equipment, and vehicles) must be cleaned and disinfected at the beginning, middle, and end of each shift, and prior to transfer from one person to another.
- No more than 2 people shall occupy one vehicle when conducting work.
Customers, and the public in general, should wear cloth face-coverings when they are interacting with others from outside their households.
Please contact Heather Hammond (email@example.com) at Gravel & Shea PC if you have questions or would like assistance.