Updated COVID-19 Guidance for VT Employers and Employees can be found at the VT Department of Labor. It is recommended that all businesses begin to plan for accommodating ever changing guidance on work-safety measures.
From the Vermont Speaker of the House
As of this morning, Vermont had 12 positive cases of COVID-19, some of which are community-acquired, meaning there was no direct link to a known source. Given the multiplier effect we’ve seen in other places (Italy, Washington State, the conference in Boston) that number may be out of date by the time I hit send.
This is a CRITICAL point in slowing the outbreak to keep Vermonters safe and give our health care providers a fighting chance to effectively treat patients with the beds, equipment, resources and providers that we have.
Practicing social distancing and severely limiting interactions takes one link at a time out of the chain of contagion. If as many people as possible are doing this, we can slow the spread of COVID-19. Because this is a “novel” virus, none of us are immune and we are all potential carriers, so your innocent errands could compound transmission. If you have to go out for yourself or are doing critical errands for constituents who can’t, please wash your hands frequently and use precautions.
Feeling like you’re not doing enough in the face of a crisis goes against every instinct of community-minded, service-oriented Vermonters like all of you. And yet, staying away is the most important thing we can do.
So get an early start on your Spring cleaning. Reach out to constituents via social media and your local paper. Check in on your more isolated friends, constituents and neighbors by phone. Stay safe, not just for yourself and family, but for all of our communities.Vermont Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson email to House Members March 16, 2020
Upcoming All-House Calls: There will be 2 all-House calls to which the press and public will be invited Tuesday 3/17 at 1:00 and Thursday 3/19 at 1:00.
Call: 888 475 4499 Meeting ID: 344-905-0610## (press pound twice after entering the code)
The House Committees are not meeting this week. The Senate Committees are meeting remotely this week to review and discuss legislation, but NOT to vote. The schedule for all committee meetings in the statehouse is here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/weeklyAgendas/2020
GMP COVID-19 Update:
Safety for customers and our employees is our focus! We recognize that some may experience financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, whether they or a family member fall ill, are required to quarantine, or because their income is otherwise affected. We hope to alleviate our affected customers’ concerns about their electricity service during this time, so GMP is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections through the end of April. These policies are effective immediately. We will evaluate their continued need at the end of April. Please note that regular billing will continue for all customers. We have a page dedicated to the latest info on the pandemic and what it means for customers here: https://greenmountainpower.com/covid-19/
AT&T & Verizon
Response from AT&T can be found here and also includes the following:
- Not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Waive any late payment fees that any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer may incur because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Keep our public Wi-Fi hotspots open for any American who needs them.
March 14th, Verizon announced today, for the next 60 days, it will waive late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus. In addition, the company will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
Childcare: State level guidance is pending but not yet available. The decision to close schools was based on anticipated community contagiousness of the virus. We are working to get clarity regarding childcare providers- whether they should be ordered to close, how they will stay solvent, if temporary situations can be established, etc.
Department of Education: On the Governor’s Press Conference this morning the question was asked about students being able to access schoolwork if they do not have internet access. Deputy Secretary Heather Bouchey: “Some communities can move to fully on line platform – many communities will be focusing on combined online and paper packet format – we will be providing assistance to districts depending on needs. Districts know they need to make sure all students have access.”
Governor Scott indicated that Department of Education has been asked to make sure that all school employees are being paid.
Speaker of the House indicated that during a call with the Joint Rules Committee, Secretary French indicated that he was working on guidelines for school to continue to provide meals or food. The “congregate meals” requirement has been waived by the federal government. Districts are developing take-home work for students. The Board of Education has flexibility in determining how many days constitutes a school year, if we don’t meet the currently required number. The Secretary is also looking into how to use school spaces as limited child care areas to support the health care work force. All of these items are conversations in development.
Public building closures
News from Readsboro library: Closed until April 7th – services available thru email or text
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stamford Town Office is taking prompt action to mitigate the spread of this virus. As a precaution, the Stamford Town Office is closed to the public effective immediately and until further notice. The Town Office staff will remain available to assist you by phone, fax, email, and online.
The town office hours will remain the same: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The following business and much more can be done via email, fax, snail mail and phone: obtaining copies of tax bills, dog licensing, single document requests, building applications, questions for the Assessor Clerk, obtaining copies of lister cards, Land Record documents, land postings, and Green Mountain Passes, etc. Please call the town office at (802) 694-1361 or email email@example.com for specific details.
Only land record research deemed necessary and essential may take place at the town office, by appointment only, and following safety protocols.
The Rabies Clinic on March 21, 2020 has been postponed.
Hi Laura, what I am most concerned about is no income… While I am at home I will have no income other than a few holidays I can use. This is honestly a little scary.a concerned constituent
Unemployment insurance is available for all laid off as a result of the virus and government actions.
Unemployment: Vermont Unemployment Claims Line: 1-877-214-3331 and 3332 – there are a lot of people calling – please be gentle with the DOL staff.
This is for people who work(ed) in businesses in Vermont. If people work in another state but live in Vermont, they must contact the unemployment office of the state in which they work(ed).
More is becoming known about specific measures that will be available for self employed and business owners. BDCC is working with local, state and federal contacts to gather and push out needed information. Watch for more information here
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Laura Sibilia
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham