Coronavirus Information for Municipalities

 

State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) Status Updates

  • The Governor activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) Wednesday, March 11th to support the ongoing work of the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) and to expand the State’s capacity to handle the COVID-19 response.
  • The SEOC is open during regular business hours from 8am-4pm until further notice. The SEOC is available 24/7 through the watch officer. The SEOC’s phone number is 1-800-347-0488.
  • The SEOC is the lead coordinating agency for statewide response, while the VDH Health Operations Center is leading the public health response in a tactical/operation way.

 

Due to the rapid changing guidance regarding COVID-19, refer to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) website for current health guidance: www.healthvermont.gov/covid19

The Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) maintains a webpage of COVID-19 Resources for municipalities: https://www.vlct.org/coronavirus#FAQs


Municipal Questions

This page is updated after each conference call with municipal officials. conference calls occur weekly on Fridays, updates may occur between calls. If you are a municipal official and have a question you would like answered, please complete a survey, linked here. These questions will be addressed on future weekly calls.

Last Updated March 30th, at 7:30PM, new or updated questions noted with an *asterisk

 

 


  • Are out of state visitors allowed in my community?
    • Governor Phil Scott has taken action to encourage compliance with newly released CDC guidance around interstate travel from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which advised residents of those states to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.

      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 into Vermont to stay to home-quarantine for 14 days and strongly discourages travel to Vermont by those located in COVID-19 “hot spots.” Details and exemptions are outlined in Addendum 7.

      Lodging facilities – including vacation rentals, hotels, inns, etc. – have been ordered closed except for those needed for COVID-19 response. Further, the state has suspended Amtrak service and VAST has closed its trail network for the season.

      Additionally, all residents and visitors are subject to the provisions set forth in Governor Phil Scott’s Executive Order dated March 13, 2020 and its subsequent addendums. This includes Addendum 6, which directs those residing in Vermont to stay at home or in their place of residence, leaving only for essential reasons such as: personal safety; groceries or medicine; curbside pick-up of goods, meals or beverages; medical care; exercise; care of others; and work, as set forth further below.

      Those residing in Vermont are also encouraged, for the public good, to self-quarantine if they come from an area that has ordered or recommended such actions. This includes the recommendation of the federal government that those who have passed through or left New York City to place themselves in a 14-day quarantine.

      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 as outlined in Addendeum 7. Additionally, the Governor has suspended online lodging reservations.

      Under this order, the Vermont State Police and local law enforcement will monitor lodging providers for compliance and work with the Attorney General’s Office on additional compliance measures if needed. If you witness a violation of this order, notify local law enforcement.

  • Will there be financial compensation for expenses the town incurs handling this outbreak?
  • What should towns be doing to prepare for COVID-19?
    • Emergency Management Directors (EMDs) are the point of coordination for all hazards, including disease outbreaks. This responsibility includes being prepared, knowing local resources, and knowing how to get additional resources.
    • Promote best practices through local messaging (example - encouraging people who are ill to stay home. If you’re concerned about your symptoms, call a doctor. If your systems are acute/life-threatening, seek immediate care.)
    • Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning. Continuity of staffing is a particular concern in the context of COVID-19. COOP plans should include identification of essential functions and lines of succession. A local COOP plan template is available on the Vermont Emergency Management website.
  • How do we continue to meet Open Meeting Law if we take meetings online?
    • The Open Meeting law requirement to host a physical location for public meetings is still in place. Changes to that are being discussed within the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) and the Legislature, but no changes have been enacted yet. Some towns are suspending meetings, or only letting one member of the public in at once.
    • The Vermont Secretary of State's Office has published guidance to assist towns working to accomoodate social distancing and public health guidance while complying with the current Open Meeting laws:  COVID-19 Impacts and Considerations for Open Meeting Law, Elections and Public Records Access
    • Currently the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) has asked the legislative committee to consider an amendment that would include provisions to address public health emergencies that may limit or prohibit members from the public from physically attending. VLCT has an Open Meeting Law fact sheet that can be found on their website.
  • Can the requirement for posting minutes within a certain number of days under the Open Meeting law be waived if there are clerical shortages?
    • The Vermont League of Cities and Towns is working with the Secretary of State’s office to address these questions. Once these questions have been addressed, they will be shared on the Vermont League of Cities and Towns website www.vlct.org/coronavirus, and will be linked here.
  • Does a town need permission to bring town vital records home or to move them to another town's vault if the office is closed?
    • The Vermont League of Cities and Towns is working with the Senate Government Operations Committee and the Governor to address these questions. Once these questions have been addressed, they will be shared on the Vermont League of Cities and Towns website www.vlct.org/coronavirus, and will be linked here.
  • What resources are available to towns to limit face-to-face contacts via teleconferencing?
    • There are several things that the National Guard is called upon to aid in. The Vermont National Guard is currently activated for several functions in the state to include planning for medial surge at the state level, and Personal Protective Equipment inventory.
    • There are many free online resources available for municipalities to use for teleconferencing. The State of Vermont does not have teleconferencing resources for municipalities to use. Searching online for free teleconferencing services should provide some options.
  • What happens if the National Guard is called in to quarantine the town?
    • There are several things that the National Guard is called upon to aid in. The Vermont National Guard is currently activated for several functions in the state to include planning for medial surge at the state level, and Personal Protective Equipment inventory.
    • The Vermont National Guard has not currently been requested by the Governor of Vermont to quarantine any communities and there are no specific plans in place to employ the National Guard in this role. If the National Guard were to be employed in this role it would be in support of their civilian partners as the lead agencies - Vermont Department of Health and local/state law enforcement. 
  • What resources are available to assist businesses with their financial losses?
    • ACCD is asking any Vermont business impacted by the response to the COVID-19 virus to share these impacts with the Agency through a dedicated email address: commerce.covid19@vermont.gov
    • In addition, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act recently passed by Congress expanded the Small Business Act’s definition of a disaster to include Coronavirus (COVID-19).  As a result, the SBA will be able to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) under a Governor’s Certification Disaster Declaration. In order for the SBA to consider an EIDL declaration, the Governor must demonstrate that at least five small businesses in a disaster area have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster.
    • ACCD is working to identify businesses that meet the Small Business Administration’s threshold for SBA disaster loan assistance.  Businesses are asked to complete an assessment form (available on the ACCD website at https://accd.vermont.gov/content/sba-worksheet) and return it to commerce.covid19@vermont.gov as soon as possible to help us advocate for eligibility. Our goal is to gain information in each of the 14 counties across the state. We are looking for data on impacts in the following areas:
      • Economic Injury
      • Supply Chain
      • Workforce (Including that caused by lack of childcare)
      • Business Travel
      • Visitor Travel and Tourism Activities
      • Remote Work Capabilities
    • The Agency has also established a hotline so that businesses may call to report impacts and be directed to resources: (802) 461-5143. The hotline will be staffed Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • Visit ACCD’s COVID-19 Guidance For Vermont Businesses for more information
  • What guidance is there for visitation to medical facilities?
    • Guidance on stricter visitation for long term care facilities and hospitals has been issued.
    • Restrictions for visitors to long-term care facilities is available on the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living's novel coronavirus information webpage https://dail.vermont.gov/novel-coronavirus-information.
    • Healthcare facilities will need to report up through the Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition and the Health Operations Center about if they are seeing staff shortages due to absenteeism.

 

Contact Information

Headquarters
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1300
(800) 347-0488
(802) 244-8721
(888) 545-7598 (TTY)

Parking Map

Information and Public Records Requests
mark.bosma@vermont.gov

Click here for public records database

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