An out-of-state orthodox Jewish camp group that state officials have warned is out of compliance with COVID-19 occupancy orders will remain at a Rutland hotel for the time being.
Rutland Town residents say they’re comfortable with the campers from New York City and New Jersey enjoying the rest of their stay in Vermont, as long as they follow proper health protocols.
“At this point, they’re already here, so there’s no point of making them leave,” said Domonique Thorne of Rutland Town. “If they’re quarantining and trying to stay away from people and wearing masks and all of the above, then it’s not as bad.”
While the director of BRC Teens Camp, Rabbi Moshe Perlstein, says he’s willing to do whatever’s necessary to keep his kids and residents safe, he prefers the teens stay housed at the Holiday Inn for the duration of their three-week trip, if possible.
“If it means sending the children home, we’ll do that. If it means sending them to another location, we’ll do that. If there’s a way to work out to keep them here, we’ll do that,” he said.
Perlstein says he’s working with the Vermont Department of Public Safety, the Attorney General’s office, and the Holiday Inn to come up with a solution, but worries moving the campers will cause more problems.
Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling Friday would not provide details on the plan or clarify if the 72-hour notice to comply was extended, though he says they hope to have more details Monday.
When you have a facility that can host 600 people,” he said, “50% is 300, and that’s still a lot of people, during a pandemic, to come into a small community
There were apparently two separate camp operations. One had 350 kids and was located at the campus of Southern Vermont College’s campus, which has an occupancy of around 1,000 people. They were well within the 75 percent of normal occupancy limits with only 1/3 of the total beds.. However, the limit on campers at any Vermont commercial hotel is only 1/2 of the total occupancy which for the Holiday Inn means a 300 cap and apparently there are 50 to 100 too many. There were also complaints by charter bus drivers claiming there were approximately 50 kids crammed on each bus coming up from the NY metro area, so no real ability for social distancing and a lot of kids weren’t wearing masks. The good news is that all the kids were tested for Covid 19 before arrival.
Was it so difficult to clear this move with Vermont ahead of time?
You have got to be kidding me.