Vermont’s next phase of softening public health restrictions include concessions for Bibles and barbers.
Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday that religious facilities and places of worship can resume operation beginning Saturday, May 23, with hair salons allowed to reopen on May 29.
Both will be required to operate at 25% capacity or less and must obey other mandatory health and safety guidance from the state.
“Like all businesses reopening there will be limits and safety measures in place to help protect workers and customers,” Scott said.
Scott’s administration also added provisions for bars and alcohol producers — “distilleries, wineries, cideries and tasting rooms” — to the outdoor dining measures that went into effect Friday. Those businesses may may offer outdoor beverage service in compliance with temporary requirements set by the Department of Liquor and Lottery.
Places of worship
Religious organizations and houses of worship can open their doors to parishioners but the state’s new guidance says outdoor, drive-in and remote services are still the preferred method of operation.
The 25% occupancy threshold is based on the facility’s approved fire-safety limits or one person per 200 square feet, depending on whichever method best ensures physical distancing between household units.
State guidance also recommends the use of facial coverings.
Also on Friday, President Donald Trump said his administration will deem churches and other places of worship “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic.
The impact of that designation was not immediately clear since state and local officials decide which businesses are essential as well as enforce social distancing, according to USA Today.
“If there’s any question,” Trump said, “they’re going to have to call me.”
Hair salons and barbershops
No walk-in appointments or house calls are allowed when hair salons and barbershops resume operations, which are limited to only Vermont residents or non-residents who have completed the mandated 14-day quarantine period.
Operators must maintain a log of customers and their contact information for at least 30 days in case contact tracing is required. Services may be only be provided by appointment “with specified time periods for each client,” per state regulations.
Occupancy limits for barbershops and hair salons are the same as churches — or 10 total customers and staff combined, whichever is greater, according to the state guidance.
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