Starting this weekend, everyone in Vermont will need to don face coverings. Forget yours, or just don’t have one? There’s a good chance someone at your hotel or inn will give you one.
The select board agreed Monday to spend up to $1,000 on disposable masks for the local coronavirus support group — Stowe C19 — to distribute to businesses around town. According to town manager Charles Safford, the town has more “purchasing power” than the group, because municipal government is tax-exempt.
Leigh Pelletier, chair of the C19 General Relief Fund, said in an email to Safford that the group aims to distribute the disposable masks to 25 Stowe hotels and inns, “the points of first entry for many out-of-town visitors.”
The purchase will add at least 2,250 masks to the C19 group’s efforts.
Pelletier said the group has already given 80 packets of the face masks — 20 masks per packet — to stores around town. The group is also supplying masks to the Stowe Free Library and Helen Day Art Center, the Stowe visitor center, the farmers market and Stowe Vibrancy’s Food in the Field program.
Select board member Billy Adams, also a part of the C19 group — he abstained from voting on the otherwise unanimous motion to buy the masks with town money — said the group has funded $20,000-plus in gift cards for groceries.
Gov. Phil Scott has ordered everyone to wear facial coverings in public starting Aug. 1. Exempt from that mandate are kids under 2 and people with medical conditions that prevent them from being able to wear one.
Stowe also requires people to cover up when going into businesses or town buildings, but its resolution lacks enforcement. Some at Monday’s select board meeting suggested adding some language to the many signs around town telling people masks are required, to let them know of the medical exemptions.
• The board gave final approval to create two no-parking zones at popular recreation areas located close to each other — on Moss Glen Falls and Brownsville roads. The action comes at the request of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, which has an interest in keeping the areas safe and open.
Moss Glen Falls, particularly, draws a lot of cars on hot summer days, parked along both sides of the road. The no-parking area will be a 500-foot stretch on the west side of the road.
The other no-parking zone is a 400-foot stretch near the corner of Brownsville and McCall Pasture roads.
Adams said he thinks people might just park farther away and cause problems there. Walter Opuszynski, with the forests department, said these are “low-hanging fruit” initiatives in a larger planning piece for the area.
• The town awarded a pair of paving projects to Pike Industries of Belmont, N.H. Pike bid $259,025 for the project, which originally called for paving School Street from Main Street to Stowe Hollow and Taber Hill roads and a stretch of Edson Hill Road from Route 108 to The Stowehof hotel. The project was amended to extend the latter project past The Stowehof all the way until the road turns to dirt, near Edson Hill Manor, pushing the price tag to $384,675.
The town had budgeted $433,900 for the paving.
An error in F.W. Whitcomb’s bid didn’t include $11,400 for traffic control, so Whitcomb’s bid was scrapped. Also bidding on the projects were J. Hutchins, S.D. Ireland and Engineers Construction.
• The board agreed to spend about $70,000 to fix a busted centrifuge at the town sewage treatment plant. The piece is used to “de-water” the sludge left over from treatment before final disposal. The town will also have to pay Morrisville Water and Light $4,000 a week to get rid of its sludge for the next two months, the amount of time estimated before normal operations can resume at the Stowe plant.
• Morgan Stanley is getting out of the municipal retirement game, so Stowe has to pull a dozen or so town employees out of the investment bank.
According to town finance director Cindy Fuller, most town employees are in the Vermont Employee Retirement System, but four or five former and six or seven current employees stuck with Morgan Stanley. Fuller said she and Safford have “trusteeship” over those funds, and will continue to with the new fund started with John Hancock. There is about $1.5 million worth of employee retirement funds in the Morgan Stanley account.