Gov. Scott announces guidelines to allow gyms, nail salons and more to open

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The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development has released guidance that allows some close-contact businesses to open June 1.

Gov. Phil Scott said Friday the businesses include gyms and indoor fitness clubs, massage therapists, nail salons and spas, as well as home cleaning and maintenance businesses.

The guidance limits operations to 25% of their approved fire space occupancy or one customer per 200 square feet. Classes can sign up no more than 25 people in any single indoor space.

Businesses also have to maintain social distancing of six feet for any activity that lasts more than a few moments, such as a retail transaction. No walk-in appointments are allowed. Everything should be by appointment only at nail salons and similar businesses.

The guidance limits customers to Vermont residents only, or others who have completed quarantine of 14 days. For retail sales, curbside pickup is preferred, and no demonstration or testing of products is allowed. Cashless, touchless transactions are “strongly preferred.”

Summer camps, museums and theaters

The commerce agency also released guidance that allows for limited overnight camping at summer camps and lays out a process for out-of-state campers to visit. Scott said he considers the update a “pilot project” that will provide insight on how to manage out-of-state tourists.

Overnight summer camp programs are allowed to operate at 75 percent of their bed capacity. The camps, as well as limited residential summer college programs, are allowed to operate in groups of greater than 25 people, as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Limited residential college programming is defined as students living on campus for no more than eight weeks, with no more than 50 participants.

Libraries, galleries, museums, theaters and other indoor arts, culture and entertainment organizations are limited to 25% of their approved fire safety occupancy, or one person per 200 square feet, or 10 total customers and staff, whichever is greater.

These venues have to post their temporary occupancy limit, including which method was used to determine it, prominently on all entrances.

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Scott increased the size of social gatherings from 10 people to 25 people for cookouts and outdoor activities, as well as indoor gatherings, but said that does not change the 25% capacity limits for retail and lodging. Those remain in place.

Coming soon: Indoor dining and organized sports?

Looking ahead, Scott said he wants to open up organized sports for children as soon as possible.

“We want to do this, we want to alleviate the pent-up frustration out there,” he said. “We want kids to have something to do. It’s high on our priority list.”

Scott said another priority is opening up restaurants again for indoor dining. He said he hopes to make an announcement next week regarding when that might be possible, if the numbers continue to move in the right direction.

“Again I want to thank Vermonters for all your hard work, being smart and staying safe,” Scott said. “Together we can win this battle.”

Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or ddambrosio@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanDambrosioVT. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Sign up today for a digital subscription. 

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