Good evening friends,
Hopefully you were able to experience some joy and peace on this Easter Sunday, even as we said goodbye to another beloved friend to so many in our community, Leon Boyd.
I see how much you are sacrificing to protect our neighbors, our healthcare workers and our first responders. Small business owners having to cease operations, parents unable to hug their children, students unable to see their teachers and friends, athletes unable to compete. Though we have not escaped the tragedy that this virus brings, the collective effort does seem to be making a difference and I have included a few bits of hopeful news in this email. We will get through this friends,
I look forward to talking with whomever might be up at 7 am tomorrow
- COVID-19 data shows Vermont doing better than best-case scenario
- Copley Hospital offers test for Covid-19 immunity
- Social distancing is working ,but when will things return to normal and what will that look like? – Boston Globe
Coffee with Laura call at 7 am Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can join that call here:
Meeting ID: 734 376 857 Password: 003089 or by calling mobile
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GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT, ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS TO PROVIDE UPDATE ON STATE’S ONGOING RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Governor Phil Scott and members of the administration hold a media briefing Monday to provide an update on the State’s continued response to covid-19.
Following remarks, the Governor and administration officials will be available for questions from members of the media.
When: Monday, April 13 at 11:00 a.m.
GENERAL PUBLIC VIEWING: Most Vermont TV and radio stations live broadcast the briefings. The Governor’s media briefing will be available to stream through ORCA Media’s youtube channel, linked here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-xsDpLCa0iRMj4dQrqum7uoXaQmqeGvT
Bookmark for updates:
Vermont Department of Health 2019 Novel Coronavirus Current Status in Vermont Webpage for updates.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus Disease page
World Health Organization Coronavirus Disease 2019
Guidance for Lodging, Accommodations and Resorts
Guidance for the Lodging and Accommodations sector in Addendum 7 of the Governor’s Executive order clarifies 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. Lodging may be provided for the following purposes: housing for vulnerable populations (emergency shelter for homeless individuals) as arranged through the state; providing accommodations for health care workers, or other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety or critical infrastructure; use of lodging properties being used as quarantine facilities as arranged by the state; and limited verifiable extenuating circumstances for the care and safety of Vermonters. These lodging restrictions will remain in place for the duration of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order, which has been extended to May 15, 2020 per Addendum 9.
The Attorney General’s directive to lodging operations outlines the limited in-person operations that may occur.
As per Addendum 9, online reservations that were suspended may now resume for stays and events occurring on or after June 15, 2020. This date may be amended or extended. The directive in Addendum 7 that lodging providers must post a prominent notice on their web platforms which advises potential guests that reservations for lodging in Vermont that is deemed essential by the Executive Order will only be accepted by phone to screen for validity remains in effect.
MESSAGE TO CONSTITUENTS FROM WINDHAM COUNTY DELEGATION
Dear Windham County residents,
We, your Windham County Legislators, want you to know that during this difficult and challenging time we are available to assist you. The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in Vermont has been extended to May 15th. Right now, the health of our state and the success of our health care system in treating this pandemic is now up to us. Please model good behavior by staying home except for absolutely necessary outings, and when you do go out wear a protective mask and keep washing your hands. Collectively, we have the power to slow the spread and flatten the curve.
We recognize that this is a stressful time for our community, families, and businesses. With information coming from many directions it can be hard to keep track of it all. We can assist you with access to health care, unemployment insurance, and loans and grants for your businesses, among other things. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need help connecting with information or resources.
For those who are still out working, thank you. We see you and thank you for the essential work you are doing to keep our supply chain intact, to stock the shelves and run the cash registers in our grocery stores, to provide childcare, to prepare and deliver meals for our school children to providing medical care for those in need during this pandemic.
Many of us have been hearing from constituents about their frustrations with delays and difficulties in filing unemployment claims. The Department of Labor is managing an overwhelming number of claims. As of this week, 71,000 Vermonters have filed for unemployment assistance and, this week, the DOL paid out the first batch of 41,000 payments totaling $25.8 million (those payments included the added benefit of $600 from the federal government).
All of this said, Vermonters are still frantically trying to get through on the phone and on-line to apply for unemployment benefits. Please know that legislators have heard your frustrations and are working with the State to ramp up capacity in the call center; troubleshoot online issues involving Social Security numbers not recognized by the system, etc. On Friday we learned from the Commissioner that nearly 50 percent of the claims have unique circumstances that require callers to reach a live person on the phone – no wonder Vermonters are struggling to get through.
In the short-term, DOL will implement an alphabetized structure for the intake of weekly claims and inquiries beginning on Sunday, April 12. The new voluntary process will reduce the number of claims assistance calls and traffic to the claimant portal by designating specific days of the week for individuals to contact the Department by phone or email, based on the first letter of their last name (Monday A-E, Tuesday. F-L, Wednesday M-R, Thursday S-Z and everyone Friday and Saturday) Full details of the structure can be found here: https://labor.vermont.gov/alphabetized-structure-information. The claim assistance line is available Mon-Fri 8:15AM-4:30PM and Saturday 9AM-3PM 1-877-214-3332.
Those who are self-employed or independent contractors (estimated to be another 40-50,000 Vermonters) are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which is a new program that has never existed before. As a result, a new system to receive these claims is being developed and should be activated to make payments to Vermonters beginning the week of April 20th.
Even while social distancing is becoming part of our everyday lives, it is so important that we don’t become socially isolated, maintaining personal connections is so important. Remember to exercise, get outside, practice social “closening”, mindfulness and doing something kind for someone else. Thank you for your incredible patience, resilience and acts of kindness to each other during this very trying time.
We are all in this together. Please reach out to us anytime, and take good care,
from the Members of the Windham County Legislative Delegation:
Rep. Laura Sibilia and Sen.Jeanette White, Sen. Becca Balint, Rep Sara Coffey, Rep Emilie Kornheiser, Rep. Mollie Burke, Rep Tristan Toleno, Rep. Carolyn Partridge, Rep. Nader Hashim, Rep. Mike Mrowicki, Rep. Emily Long, Rep. John Gannon, Rep. Kelly Pajala
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