Last month, Gov. Phil Scott formed a task force to plan the reopening of Vermont’s economy after the coronavirus shutdown.
Now, a Stowe group has formed to focus specifically on the tourist town.
Lisa Hagerty, Stowe select board chair, business owner and member of the new task force, said the group is nailing down the details of “what a Vermont-passed reopening would look like and how it might be translated to how to do business in Stowe and what will work when visitors visit Stowe.”
Some members of the group spoke at Monday’s select board meeting.
Walter Frame, director of Trapp Family Lodge — and also part of the statewide RestartVT task force — said it is important that businesses follow state guidelines when reopening.
“If we don’t do this right the first time, there will be a lot of businesses that won’t survive a second time,” Frame said.
State Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, another local task force member, said there’s really no choice but to follow the rules.
“These policies are not just things you want, but things you must have in place, to mitigate the spread and make sure we open smartly and safely,” Scheuermann said.
Frame is concerned that more people are not being tested for COVID-19 — “138 tests a day isn’t going to do it.”
Kyle Walker, Stowe’s health officer, said some people might be reluctant to get tests, because “I think there is a stigma about getting a COVID-19 test.”
Frame has asked the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration for specific reopening guidance for restaurants, hotels and lodges.
“This VOSHA training is so key and critical,” said Bobby Murphy, vice president and general manager of Stowe Mountain Resort and a member of the local task force.
The resort is conducting training both online and in-person, with a goal of reopening this summer. In the meantime, the company is also reviewing other workplace practices.
“How are you setting up your spaces for your employees?” Murphy said. “What does the break room look like? Is it small and congested? Should it be closed entirely?”
Murphy said the resort is also looking at modifying when it will open and close, and reviewing workers’ schedules to see if they can be staggered to reduce up-close interaction.