Covid 19

Preparations for the Possible Arrival of COVID-19

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Posted at 3:21 p.m.


I know that many of you may be following news reports about the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. I am writing to update you on how the City of Burlington is preparing for the possible arrival of the virus here and to share information on how you can best protect yourself and your family from possible illness.

First, an update on what the City is doing:

  • We have formed a team within the City’s leadership and emergency services personnel to prepare for the possible arrival of the virus. We are following closely updates from the Vermont Department of Health about the State’s virus planning and recommendations.
  • We are taking steps to minimize the transmission of any illness within City buildings and operations (including at the airport and polling places earlier this week), as slowing the transmission of the flu and other colds is particularly important right now.
  • We are updating existing plans for continuing essential municipal operations in the event that there is an outbreak of the virus locally.
  • In short: The City is planning so that we can be ready in case the need arises.

Second, I would like to share this list of steps that the Vermont Department of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending for everyone. As with many illnesses, the risk that coronavirus poses to many individuals appears to be low – but by working together and slowing the spread of the flu, other contagious illnesses, and potentially COVID-19, we lessen the risk for those in our community who may be particularly vulnerable. The steps you should consider taking include:

  • Frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The CDC has some good tips on effective handwashing here:
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

Both health agencies have helpful online materials for understanding the virus and how to reduce the risk associated with it. Here’s the link to the Vermont Department of Health page: Here’s the link to the CDC page:

Going forward, I will continue to be in touch as needed through Front Porch Forum, the City’s website (, and social media pages ( as anything changes. I also encourage everyone to sign up for VT-Alert to receive the City’s urgent alerts by phone, email, and text: