At a Moretown Select Board meeting on December 7, the board discussed coronavirus concerns for the road crew and brainstormed ways to increase compliance with the town’s new mask mandate.
At a previous meeting, select board chair Tom Martin advised the Moretown road crew to implement a buddy-system that only allows the road crew to work together in exclusive pairings in order to mitigate the possible spread of the coronavirus. Road crew members are masked when they are working.
“Are you expecting us to not have the full crew together?” asked road foreman Martin Cameron at the December 7 meeting.
Cameron explained that the road crew has eliminated unnecessary contact between different road crew members. “We’ve been keeping to two-man groups. We’ve locked the shop door. That seems to help on foot traffic, stopping the random person swinging in, keeping our exposure limited there,” said Cameron.
“But there’s obviously times where you can’t do something with just two guys. Unfortunately, the nature of this pandemic is that if one of us catches it, there’s a decent chance that we’ll all end up with it,” said Cameron, who explained that many situations call for road crew members to work together in close proximity on projects that involve more than one person.
Cameron’s concern is that, if a member of the road crew gets sick, and others are asked to quarantine, Moretown residents may be forced to traverse unkempt winter roads. In response to Cameron’s concerns, Martin said the road crew can continue to work together when need be, but should stay vigilant to health protocols. “Continue to try to do what you’re doing, and spray stuff down when you can,” said Martin.
On November 16, the Moretown Select Board finally decided to institute a mask mandate for the town. Before, wearing face masks in Moretown was only a recommendation. Now, it’s required.
At the board’s December 7 meeting, board members discussed what the shift from recommendation to mandate means for Moretown residents and business owners.
“Now we’re saying ‘mustm’ but what are we doing when people don’t?” asked select board member Callie Streeter, who pointed out that even with the new mandate, the select board has received complaints of people entering Moretown businesses without masks.
Martin said the new mandate was not about enforcement, but about showing the town’s support for mask wearing. “The state has a mandate and they’re not out arresting people. The purpose of the mandate is to get behind it a little bit more and put more weight behind what we’re saying. It’s to show we really believe this should be done,” said Martin.
While Streeter agreed that supporting a mask mandate is important, she also suggested that the town create an avenue for business owners and residents to file complaints for noncompliance. She suggested the town provide resources for reporting rule breakers.
Specifically, the town will direct people to call the Vermont Department of Health to report mask mandate rule breakers. Additionally, the town will direct people to this link, https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=O5O0IK26PEOcAnDtzHVZxp8VoIcMV9NNu0QyG_vdGAVUN1pLSTdOMERRR1dXOVpZMDBZUEtNVlhXMi4u, posted by the Vermont State Police, where people can report businesses for disregarding any of the state’s coronavirus safety guidelines.