To The Editor:

This is an open letter to Governor Scott and Commissioner of Health Dr. Levine.

I know that people in my town of Waitsfield, like Fred Messer, whose family goes back to the Revolution, would laugh at me for explaining that I’ve lived in Vermont for 50 years now. But my wife and I, although transplanted, have put down deep roots in the Green Mountain State. Actually, I have to say we feel more like we’re grafted in, like new fruit growing on old stock.

Vermont’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been measured and very successful, and I’m proud of our restraint and the generosity that I see all around me during these difficult times. I speak not just for myself but for a wide spectrum of families and spouses who have been separated from their family members in assisted living since March 13. My wife has severe dementia and every week that I lose the chance to speak to her and hold her hand is like losing a month or even more in her life.

It’s become apparent that the coronavirus is destroyed by sunlight and I’m very sincerely hoping that within another two weeks or so I will be able to arrange outdoor visits with my wife when we can see each other face to face and, with suitable safety gear, actually touch. I would never do anything to endanger her health or the health of all the vulnerable people she lives with, but I know that her mental and psychological well-being would benefit enormously, as would mine, and as I said I’m only one representative of a large group of people who have family members in assisted living.

Please work on some kind of testing regimen so that the idea of face-to-face outdoor visits can be implemented in the next few weeks. The benefits would be enormous.

Jim Dodds

Waitsfield, Vermont