Stowe Police Chief Donald Hull failed to properly quarantine after returning from a vacation to Montana last month, despite being told to do so by his boss.
Hull had previously called rumors that he didn’t quarantine “absolutely not true.”
Now, he admits he went to the store, visited the police station and participated in an outdoor activity before finally quarantining.
In a story published June 4, Town Manager Charles Safford said Hull had dropped by the department to grab some things so he could work from home. Hull did not return a message seeking confirmation for that original story.
After it was published, a man calling from a blocked telephone number told the newspaper Hull had gone golfing when he was supposed to be under quarantine. After more than a week of being pressed on the issue, Hull admitted he “participated in outdoor activity,” but did not answer whether or not he played golf.
According to a “leave request form” from the town, Hull took vacation from April 30 to May 14. The day before the end of that vacation, Safford emailed Hull telling him he needed to quarantine, per Gov. Phil Scott’s executive order requiring it from anyone coming to Vermont from out of state.
Scott issued that order May 6, while Hull was on vacation, and Safford said Hull was in a part of Montana without cellphone coverage, and likely had not been informed of the executive order.
Hull took a COVID-19 test about a week after he got back to Vermont. He tested negative for the disease on May 26 and started back to work in the office.
It was originally reported that Hull visited the police station before Safford’s May 13 email directing him to quarantine, but the visit actually came four days after Safford’s directive.
Hull said in an email last week that while he “acknowledged receipt” of Safford’s email, he “truly did not realize the stay-at-home 14-day quarantine requirements” until he met with Safford on May 18.
He did not answer follow-up questions asking for details on his outings — what store he went to, what outdoor activity he participated in, and whether he went out other times before finally quarantining.
Hull also provided an email to Stowe police officers apologizing for visiting the police station while he supposed to be under quarantine.
According to Stowe Police Department COVID-19 protocols, only one officer is allowed in the public safety building at a time.
In Hull’s email, sent on May 18 — the same day he met with Safford — the chief explained to his officers that he’d stopped by the station the day before to get paperwork and his iPad so he could work from home. He said he spoke with two officers, but he “was well over the social distancing requirements.” He said no one replied to his email.
“I want to apologize for doing that and if I made anyone feel uncomfortable,” Hull wrote.