The Warren Select Board’s measured approach to the issue of whether or not the town should mandate masks is exactly what we need right now. The select board this week discussed the town’s ability to mandate masks and considered feedback from local businesses on the issue.
For the time being, the board will not adopt a mandate on facial coverings in the town – as Burlington and several other Vermont communities have done since Governor Phil Scott said towns were free to do so.
Board members are cognizant that Memorial Day brought a lot of visitors to The Valley, many of whom were not wearing masks. Board members noted that as more states reopen and as more of Vermont reopens, more visitors will arrive.
They are right to approach this warily, to avoid “the sky is falling” behavior and to take a wait and see approach. This also lets their reaction and future action be made in response to viral trends in Vermont and beyond.
Even more aptly, board chair Andy Cunningham hit the nail on the head when he suggested that rather than a town-by-town approach to any mask mandate, what really makes sense for our community is a Mad River Valley approach. And that does make sense. There’s really no sense in requiring masks in one town without requiring them in all of our towns given how incredibly interconnected we are.
We are four towns sharing two mountain ranges, one watershed, multiple schools, one primary business district and three smaller business districts. What happens at The Warren Store impacts what happens at Mad River Taste Place. What happens at the Sugarbush golf course affects what happens at the Mad River Barn and Moretown General Store.
It’s only logical to be thinking holistically about our community, whether it’s about face masks during a pandemic, managing stormwater runoff, sharing emergency services, transportation and more.
This type of measured leadership is what we need during these trying times.