And together we will get through this

As Vermonters we should be very proud of how we have traveled this new journey together, respecting the parameters and guidelines that Governor Scott has outlined for us, and now, because people have been diligent and considerate, we can now start to see our little world take some steps toward a new normal. I say a “new” normal, as I don’t see us returning to our “old” normal and, quite frankly, hope we don’t. Life, at a slower, less frenzied pace is quite nice, and I’m thinking many of you may agree with me.

Although I’m now past the working stage of my life, I have to think trading a commute to working at home could be quite the nice trade, and perhaps some folks out there might have the option of having that as their new normal!

The COVID-19 Team met again this week and continues to try to find ways to help ease the challenge that this crisis has created for folks. Some of what is below is “old” news, but maybe some folks missed it; other information is new. The important piece is that if you have a question or are in need of some assistance, there are resources out there to contact….and if what you need is not listed or you know of a resource we have not listed, please email Margaret Woodruff or Cindi Robinson. Our goal is to share information about resources available and to communicate with all of you!

Still not receiving unemployment benefits?
Mike Yantachka, our representative to the Vermont State Legislature, is willing to try to help you. See his Report from the Legislature on page 7 of this issue. Read everything in your home?

Our library is operating, checking books in and out. Books can be returned at the drop boxes at the library or at Spear’s Store, where they are then quarantined for 72 hours. Using the library website or calling (802) 425-3864, you can place a book on hold. Your request will be processed, the book disinfected and wrapped for you to pick up on the library porch. Summer is coming, and the hammock or porch swing awaits.

Are you a parent of a CCS student?
Homeschooling can be a challenge for both parent and child and can be even more difficult when the parent is still trying to be a productive employee from home. Parents are encouraged to connect with teachers to ask questions, seek assistance, and get encouragement. Use the CCS website to contact your child’s teacher.

Charlotte Food Shelf is open
Located in the basement of the Charlotte Congregational Church, the Food Shelf is available for curbside pickup on Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. If you need food or have questions, please call Karen Doris at 425-3252. Families with students at CCS who are receiving food from the school can continue to receive food into June. When that program ends for the summer, those same families should contact the Food Shelf for assistance. CCS food will resume in the fall. Food Shelf volunteers have very specific protocols to follow in order to keep everyone safe.

Need financial assistance?
Both the Food Shelf and the Charlotte Congregational Church have emergency funds to help families in need. Cindi Robinson manages the Assistance Committee for the Charlotte Food Shelf. Requests can be made by calling (802) 425-3252 or (802) 425-3130. The Congregational Church can also be contacted for assistance at (802) 425-3176.

From Chris Davis, Emergency Management Director
For the most up to date information, resource lists, and links to many other Vermont agencies providing support during these challenging times, please go to the Vermont Department of Health website  or call (802) 863-7240. For non-health-related questions, dial 2-1-1 or 1-(866) 652-4636.

Play Smart and Play Safe
Vermonters may leave home to get fresh air and exercise and resume limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings, provided that physical distancing and protocols consistent with guidance from VDH and the Centers for Disease Control are observed. To keep disease from spreading this means always staying home and away from others if you are sick with COVID-19, have recently been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or just don’t feel well.

Continue to keep a 6-foot distance from others when you meet people outside of your household. Continue to limit non-essential travel; all travel should be limited to Vermont to the extent possible, and when you do travel, limit non-essential stops. Anyone who leaves Vermont for more than one day for non-essential travel is required to quarantine at home for 14-days upon their return.

Vermonters may leave home to participate in outdoor recreation and outdoor fitness activities that require low or no direct physical contact.

Take Care of Your Emotional and Mental Health
Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed or powerless is common during an infectious disease outbreak. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs emotional support, help is available 24/7: call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255; Text VT to 741741 to talk with someone at the Crisis Text Line. For more information visit the Vermont Department of Health website.

Changes to previous Stay at Home orders, effective May 11
Members of one household may choose to socialize— and allow children to play— with members of another household, such as family, neighbors or friends known to be following VDH/CDC health and safety precautions.

All Vermonters are encouraged to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth any time they are interacting with others from outside their households, including in congregate outdoor settings. Masks are not recommended for strenuous outdoor activity. Businesses, nonprofit, and government entities may require customers or clients to wear masks.

All businesses and nonprofit and government entities which support or offer outdoor recreation and outdoor fitness activities that require low or no direct physical contact may begin operations, subject to compliance with the health and safety guidelines and training requirements set out below, and applicable Agency of Commerce and Community Development guidance. These include, but are not limited to, state and municipal parks, recreation associations, trail networks, golf courses, big-game check stations and guided expeditions. Campgrounds, marinas and beaches shall not be opened at this time. In addition, all businesses and nonprofit and government entities which support or offer outdoor recreation and fitness activities must implement the following measures:

  • Require Vermonters participating in outdoor recreation and fitness activities to “arrive, play and leave.” Groups may not congregate before or after activities. For example, no tailgating.
  • Post signage and institute registration processes that reinforce outdoor facilities are only open to Vermonters and those who have met the 14-day quarantine requirement.
  • Post signage discouraging contact sports and games.

All businesses and nonprofit and government entities which support or offer outdoor recreation and fitness activities should go to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website for rules, practices and mandatory health and safety and training. Information for business assistance is also available at this website.

Child care centers can re-open June 1 and summer day camps will be able to open this summer, provided they can follow safety guidelines expected to be issued next week.

The CV-19 Team will continue to meet in the coming months to bring you up-to-date news and assistance. If you know of resources that are available that we have not listed, or if you have a need and are looking for a particular resource, please feel free to contact Trina Bianchi, Cindi Robinson, or Margaret Woodruff.

As we start seeing life changing and opening up, please remember that this isn’t over, and we need to continue to be patient, careful and cognizant of staying safe and staying well. So far, Vermonters have excelled in this journey. And if you and your family have found, discovered or rediscovered activities or things that you want to keep in your new normal, it would be fun to share those with others. If you have thoughts, please feel free to email me directly.

Stay well, stay safe!