We’re all in this together…. again

For the most recent print issue of The Charlotte News, a group of Charlotte citizens came together in a virtual brainstorming session to see how they could help all residents of our town.

We started a listing of opportunities to help our residents cope with the current situation. That list has grown; as this continues, we will make information available through both the published edition of The News and also in periodic email versions.

If you would like to be involved and join this group, please email either Margaret Woodruff or Cindi Robinson.

Who is in this group? Where is this information coming from?

    • Chris Davis, town emergency management director
    • Cindi Robinson, Food Shelf
    • Cindy Tyler, Karen Doris, Food Shelf
    • Margaret Woodruff, library director
    • Betsy Lloyd, Elizabeth Skypeck, CCS
    • Kevin Goldenbogen, Jim Hyde, Charlotte Congregational Church
    • Debra Kassabian, Mike Dunbar, Charlotte Crossings
    • Ruah Swennerfelt, Transitions Charlotte
    • Carol Blanshine, CCS PTO
    • Carolyn Kulick, Lane Morrison, Senior Center
    • Andrea Regan, Charlotte Family Health Center
    • Vince Crockenberg, The Charlotte News
    • Mike Yantachka, Vermont State representative
    • Karen Tuininga, Transitions Charlotte, Seed Library and Compost Project CCS

Charlotte Food Shelf information (please note change of hours)
The Charlotte Food Shelf is in the basement of the Charlotte Congregational Church.  From the parking lot, enter through the vestry door. Curbside pickup is available on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  If you need food or have questions, can call Karen Doris at (802) 425-3252.

Transitions Charlotte, Seed Library/Compost Project at CCS
 Transition Town Charlotte supports community resilience (definitely something we need now) through relocalization, reskilling and networking. If you have questions on how this group might be able to help you deal with a challenge you are facing now, email Karen or call her at (802) 539-2935.

The Charlotte Seed Library is a library program that offers information about saving seeds, home gardening and food production. If you are thinking about starting a garden this year and would like information, this is a great resource. Send an email or visit the Charlotte Library’s web site.

Can you drive? Willing to help deliver meals to seniors?
Meals on Wheels could use more volunteers to deliver food. If you have time and are willing to help, contact Erica Marks, director of volunteer services, at (802) 662-5249.  The coordinator for Shelburne and Charlotte is Shona Unsworth at (802) 985-9707.

 Food for children
 The CCS website has an online application for free/reduced lunch for all Charlotte children, regardless of where they go to school. Contact Carol Blanshine, a member of the Charlotte Central School PTO, if you have questions.

From Chris Davis, Charlotte’s Emergency Management Director
Keep up the great work of staying safe at home, and those that are able to return to work, do so safely. We need to continue to observe safe distancing of at least six feet around non-family or close-friend groups, and we should wear a face covering when we are near other people in public to slow the spread of the virus.

Here is some specific information received last Friday (4/17) from the Vermont Department of Health and the State Emergency Operations Center:

E-mail and internet scammers are present and targeting towns, so we should be careful with any suspicious emails. There was also an incident of a false VT Alert on texts in southern Vermont.  It shows up as Vermont “e” Alert. This is a fake, and if you see anything like this you should contact the Vermont Attorney General’s Office via their website.

The number of new COVID cases has slowed, and the Health Department believes the curve has flattened.  They stress that COVID is transmitting just as it has before, especially through asymptomatic individuals, so we should continue to follow all of the Vermont Department of Health recommendations below.

Antibody tests are still not ready to be released in Vermont, but the Vermont Department of Health is working with the FDA on that.

COVID tests are available after calling a person’s health care provider or the Vermont Department of Health at (802) 863-7240. The health department is also ready to respond to COVID-19 health-related questions. Calls are answered 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., seven days a week. Outside those hours, leave a message and your call will be returned.

Find answers, whether you are a health care provider looking for lab results, a returning traveler, calling from a long-term care facility or someone who works in child care services affected by COVID-19. For non-health related questions, dial 2-1-1. If you have trouble reaching 2-1-1, dial (866) 652-4636.

The Vermont Department of Health is an excellent source of information regarding all things COVID.

From the Vermont Department of Health website on 4/17/20:

Mandatory Health and Safety Requirements for all Business Operations
All businesses must follow Vermont Department of Health and CDC guidelines:

  • Employees shall not report to, or be allowed to remain at, work or job site if sick or symptomatic (with fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath).
  • All employees must observe strict social distancing of 6 feet while on the job.
  • Employees must wear non-medical cloth face coverings (bandanna, scarf, or non-medical mask, etc.) over their nose and mouth when in the presence of others. In the case of retail cashiers, a translucent shield or “sneeze guard” is acceptable in lieu of a mask.
  • Employees must have easy and frequent access to soap and water or hand sanitizer during duration of work, and handwashing or hand sanitization should be required before entering, and leaving, job sites. All common spaces and equipment, including bathrooms, frequently touched surfaces and doors, tools and 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.

Business Customer and General Public Mask Use
Customers, and the public in general, are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings any time they are interacting with others from outside their household.

Phased Restart
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 above.

To safely reopen certain operations impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and not defined as essential, Governor Scott has directed the Agency of Commerce, in consultation with the Department of Health and the Department of Public Safety, to authorize, subject to mandatory health and safety requirements listed above and additional guidance below, the following:

1.3 Low or no contact professional services

  • Services operating with a single worker (such as appraisers, realtors, municipal clerks, attorneys, property managers, pet care operators, and others) may operate if they can comply with the mandatory health and safety requirements listed above, with no more than 2 persons (service provider and client) present at one time.

If your business or circumstance does not meet these criteria, additional guidance will be forthcoming.

For additional clarification, please submit a request through the ACCD Request Additional Guidance COVID-19 Form.

We will continue to meet and brainstorm resources that are available to our families and community members. If you know of resources that are available that we have not listed or if you have a need and are looking for a resources, please feel free to contact Trina Bianchi, Cindi Robinson, or Margaret Woodruff.

As we start to see life being renewed this week, please remember that this isn’t over, that we need to be patient, careful and cognizant of staying safe and staying well. So far, Vermonters have excelled in this new health challenge!  If you know people who are not receiving the email versions of The Charlotte News, let them know it’s available and to sign up on The Charlotte News website.