Business & Economy

State issues reopening rules for child care, drive-ins and retail 

Sunset Drive-In theater in Colchester. Photo by Malachi Champion

The state released new guidance Wednesday for operating child care facilities, stores and drive-ins, as restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are poised to be further eased.

Gov. Phil Scott announced earlier this week that non-essential stores could begin reopen their doors on May 18. Last week, he said that child care facilities and summer camps could start operating again as of June 1.

The new guidance for businesses released by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development Wednesday also spells out requirements for any drive-in operations — including movie theaters, religious services and graduation ceremonies.

Vehicles need to be spaced at least 6 feet from each other, no gathering outside of cars is allowed, and concessions have to be done by takeout or delivery.

Non-essential stores will be able to reopen for the first time since businesses were shuttered in March, but they must comply with — and publicly post — strict capacity limits. Retail operations must limit the number of staff and customers inside to 25% of the fire safety occupancy limit, one customer per 200 square feet, or a total of 10 people — whichever is greatest.

While stores will be able to open their doors as of May 18, the agency emphasized that curbside service “remains the preferred method of operation.” At drive-ins and in stores, cashless transactions or ones that don’t involve touching “are strongly preferred.”

The latest updates are posted on the ACCD’s website.

Meanwhile, the new guidance for child care facilities and summer camps caps capacity at child care facilities to no more than 25 children and teachers, total, in a single room.

The guidance recommends that most children wear cloth masks, with some exceptions, like children under 2 or children who have a medical reason for not wearing one.

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Daily health checks are required; staff need to ask children how they’re feeling every day when they arrive.

The full guidance for child care facilities and summer camps is posted online.

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Elizabeth Hewitt

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