This week New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of a multi-state council of Northeast states that will study approaches to fighting the coronavirus pandemic and find coordinated ways to restore the regional economy. Vermont was not included. During his regular update Wednesday, Governor Phil Scott was asked about the state’s involvement.
Governor Cuomo created a working group with members from each participating state to craft an economic re-opening plan accounting for coronavirus data and trends. The first states to participate are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Massachusetts was not part of the rollout but joined hours later.
Vermont Republican Governor Phil Scott said state officials received a call Tuesday night from Cuomo’s office apologizing for not making him aware of the plan. “Here's what I know about the program thus far. It's more of a formal recognition of what we're already doing. They're trying to get with other states, not to strategize as to doing it all at one time, but really just contemplating what other states are doing. And we've been doing that informally. I speak with Governor Baker, Governor Sununu, Governor Mills and others about what their strategies are. And so what New York is trying to formalize is just talking with other states, making sure there's not a ripple effect of some action they might take that would put another state in a tough position.”
Scott doesn’t know all the details but wants to participate. “We want to be part of that. I would also say that there may be other states, for instance, I don’t if Maine or New Hampshire are going to join this group. The way it was explained to me, and again I’ll see it more in detail when it arrives on my desk, but I view this as letting every state know what the other one is doing. But anything we can do to work together I’m in favor of.”
Vermont’s governor sees the coalition as a way to formalize communication between the states on how they will open their economies. “I think a lot of people just thought that states would work together and come out with this one big plan and implement it and it would be the same throughout the region. And that's just not the case and that's not the thought process behind it. We want to hear from other states and they want to hear from us. Because again we've done things pretty well and they may want to hear what we've done that's benefited Vermont.”
Governor Scott also highlighted the efforts of Vermont business to help during the pandemic. Appearing by video link Burton Snowboards CEO Donna Carpenter said not only have they imported half a million FDA approved KN95 masks from one of their suppliers in China, they are also manufacturing face shields for physicians. “We are using our 3D printers at our rapid prototype facility here in Burlington. We worked with Boston Children's Hospital to design and print approximately 500 face shields to be distributed in regional hospitals. Our goggle and helmet division, so far we have donated over 1,500 new pairs of Annon goggles directly to hospitals. We've set up a bin outside of our Burlington headquarters where customers can drop off goggles and we will quarantine them before getting them distributed through Goggles for Docs.”