Selectboard Special Meeting Notes: Masks Redux

brattleboro selectboard august 17 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a new rule requiring face covering indoors, subject to the approval of Dr. Levine and the Vermont Department of Health. If Levine doesn’t approve, the board strongly recommends, rather than requires, the face coverings. This is all in response to a rapid rise in regional COVID cases, more Delta variant, and a fluctuating CDC rating of viral transmission.

In a related action, the board recommended to everyone who is able, please get vaccinated.


Brattleboro Selectboard Special Meeting Agenda – New Mask Requirements

The Brattleboro Selectboard will meet on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at 6:15pm in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Brattleboro Municipal Center (320 Main Street). The public is encouraged to participate in the meeting over Zoom. The Municipal Center will be open to the public with limited seating spaced six feet apart and face coverings will be required in the meeting. The attached agenda contains information on how to access the meeting remotely, including the required “passcode.”  ASL interpreters will be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.


Why Don’t We See More Masks?

Engaging in usual forms of commerce makes one believe that the pandemic is a thing of the past. I find it extremely frightening that more people are not wearing masks in public because the science does tell us that not enough people have been vaccinated to provide the kind of herd immunity that we might need to protect all of us.

Fifty four percent of the U.S. population has received a first dose of vaccine and 47% have received a second dose. That means that as you go about your daily business about half of the people you see should be wearing masks. Of course, the vaccination numbers vary by state. Vermont has a vaccination rate of 82% for a first dose and 75% for a second dose. Massachusetts is at 70% for a first dose and 61% for a second dose.

Even with those numbers we still should see a quarter to a half of the people we engage with on a daily basis wearing masks. It is just not happening. Most places, as well as the CDC, have lifted mask restrictions for vaccinated people and have let the unvaccinated rely on their conscience to do the right thing.
Guess what? It ain’t working. The daily numbers of new COVID cases and deaths are declining but more than 600,000 Americans have died from the disease and it has become clear that most of the recent deaths are in people who have not been vaccinated.


Town of Brattleboro COVID Update June 4, 2021

” WHAT IS NEW TODAY 

• Effective today, the Selectboard has terminated the Townwide emergency order that required face coverings to be worn inside all facilities (public, private, and non-profit) where the public is invited. Individual organizations and building owners can still require face coverings at their own facilities. 

The Town of Brattleboro thanks everyone for complying with the Townwide “mask order” during the 54 weeks that it was in effect. 

• The public may now enter the Gibson Aiken Center without an appointment. 

The number of spectators is still limited for indoor programs. Masks are still required at all times while in the building. 

• At this time, masks are still required inside all Town of Brattleboro government facilities. “


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Police Hours Change, Mask Mandate To Expire, Water Treatment Plant Contract Approved

Brattleboro Selectboard june 1

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a plan to let Brattleboro Police switch from an understaffed three shift system to a two shift system that will reduce hours and stress. Brattleboro will go without patrol staff for certain hours of the week.

The water treatment plant is going ahead with approval of a firm to build the new plant, despite a bad reference and previous bad town experiences with the company. The local mask mandate will be lifted on Friday. And State Senator Becca Balint described the huge piles of money coming to Vermont in the near future.


Brattleboro Selectboard Meeting Agenda and Notes – June 1, 2021

The Brattleboro Selectboard will take up matters relating to COVID at their next regular meeting. State Senator Becca Balint will give an update on ARPA and other funding sources, the board will discuss what to do about the mask order in town, they’ll talk about in-person meeting possibilities. and whether to continue deferring Small Business Loans.

Hiring a firm to help find Brattleboro a new Town Manager is up for discussion, as will approving a nearly $12 million big to build a new water treatment plant. You can bring up other items not on the agenda, and/or ask for your $12 million, during public participation.


Town of Brattleboro Mask Order Still In Effect

The Brattleboro Town Manager’s COVID-19 update today says the following:

“WEARING FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED 

At its meetings on May 19 and May 26, 2020, the Selectboard adopted the following resolution. The resolution was reviewed and reaffirmed at the Selectboard meeting on June 16. On May 13, 2021, the United States Government issued new guidance that says fully vaccinated people can safely choose not to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors. Today, Governor Scott reiterated that guidance to Vermonters. The updated guidance states that “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” The Town of Brattleboro’s face covering order remains in effect at this time. Moreover, it is important to remember that many people are not yet fully vaccinated so individual businesses may choose to continue to require face coverings on their premises even after government-issued face covering orders have been rescinded. “


A COVID Christmas Anti-Viral Holiday Special

covid christmas special

I promised you a new holiday treat for this year, and here it is: A COVID Christmas Anti-Viral Holiday Special.     It is a super cute animated Christmas story made especially for a special year, featuring a masked snowman, masked singers, socially-distanced Santa, toy shopping, Mom, and a decorated tree by a fire. And lots of mask jokes.

I didn’t set out to make a new holiday special. I was working on some Christmas card ideas and Lise saw what I was doing and suggested they might make for some nice animation. That got me thinking, and before long I was able to string together a series of card ideas into a parody of a couple of my favorite holiday films.


Brattleboro Selectboard Meeting Agenda and Notes – November 3, 2020

The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold a limited regular meeting on Election Night. They’ll issue a statement in support of American democracy, consider and reject a request to relax mask-wearing rules in local businesses, hear an overview of the FY22 budget, and set a schedule to discuss it in detail. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.


Vermont Strengthens Mask Requirements

Montpelier, Vt. – As the state continues its sustained efforts to encourage mask use as a tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable, Governor Phil Scott today announced strengthened mask requirements in public places and congregate settings.

“Based on national and regional data on how the virus is spreading – and rather than waiting like other states have – I feel we need to act now to protect our gains, which have allowed us to reopen much of our economy,” said Governor Scott. “That’s why today I signed an Order, which will strengthen our current mask mandates, so that we do not take steps backwards and we can stay open into the fall as people move more of their interactions indoors,” Governor Scott added.


Deadly Priorities

Why do so many Americans value the lives of others so little? Why are they willing to allow the spread of disease, disability and death with such arrogant defiance so they can eat at restaurants, have their hair cut and mingle in public crowds at beaches and rallies?
Some argue that if more businesses do not re-open then the economy will suffer too much. We have a society that worships commerce and the power of the dollar and that is one of the reasons so many Americans are deciding to stop taking measures to spread the COVID virus.

We must re-tool our economy in the face of the pandemic while also making the decision to value life above all else. Our collective ethos is heading in the wrong direction and a lot of people are going to suffer and die.


Town of Brattleboro COVID-19 Response Status – May 20, 2020, 12:30pm

 WHAT IS NEW TODAY 

• The Brattleboro Selectboard issued an Emergency Order at its meeting last night requiring that face coverings be worn by all employees, customers, and visitors in any store, office, or other indoor setting where business is conducted. This requirement is effective immediately and applies equally to businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental facilities anywhere in Brattleboro. 

The Selectboard made this decision after a lengthy discussion that included substantial public input on the GoToMeeting platform where Selectboard meetings are currently being held without any specific physical location due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Here is the full text of the resolution that the Selectboard adopted to issue this order: 


Brattleboro Emergency Order- Wearing Face Coverings Required

The Brattleboro Selectboard issued an Emergency Order at its meeting last night requiring that face coverings be worn by all employees, customers, and visitors in any store, office, or other indoor setting where business is conducted. This requirement is effective immediately and applies equally to businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental facilities anywhere in Brattleboro. The Selectboard made this decision after a lengthy discussion that included substantial public input on the GoToMeeting platform where Selectboard meetings are currently being held without any specific physical location due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Here is the full text of the resolution that the Selectboard adopted to issue this order: 

Be it resolved by the Selectboard of the Town of Brattleboro, Vermont, as follows: 


How To Wear A Mask

Over the past few weeks I have been tempted to create a squad of the mask police. I have seen too many people who either don’t seem to understand how a facemask is supposed to work or they think half a job is better than none.

When I see people who do not cover their nose with a mask my blood pressure rises a little, but I have refrained from telling them how to use it correctly. Forty years as a nurse in a variety of settings has given me some credibility in this area, having probably spent hundreds of hours in close proximity to communicable disease while wearing a mask and other protective gear.

This isn’t rocket science. It’s actually pretty simple if you just put a little bit of thought into why you are wearing a mask. Although some masks are more effective than others they all have the same purpose: to stop the spread of disease.