Summer is in full swing, and while we are enjoying the great outdoors, we are now confronted here in southern Vermont with a spike in cases of COVID-19. While Vermont has been a relative oasis as we’ve put into practice all the health and safety guidelines, it is a stark reminder that this virus knows no artificial state boundaries that somehow makes us immune form spreading and contracting this disease.

With more than 50 new cases over the last week from Manchester to Londonderry according to preliminary testing, and more expected this week as additional pop-up testing sites are added in the area, anecdotally, there’s been spread here from both in-state and out-of-state residents and children as well as adults. Given the sudden increase, we have suspended operations over the short term this week of the Black Line Tavern as a pre-caution to help tamp down the spike in cases as health officials get a handle on the size of the outbreak and do their contact tracing. I want to personally thank our staff for putting together such strong health procedures for operations which help protect our customers as well as employees. I’m sure we will get our BLT staff back working serving you great food and cocktails soon. And, I commend other restaurants in the area from Manchester to Londonderry for sacrificing some business revenue for the safety of others as we all get a handle on mitigating this spike in new cases.

But the mitigation of this virus can’t be just up to small businesses. This new spike in cases here in Vermont demonstrates that we ALL need to contribute to this effort in the northeast so we can keep the general positive trend going lower and lower so we can protect our health, keep businesses open, and very selfishly, have a great ski season together!

And, the sacrifice we all have to make is pretty simple now that the northeast is trending lower and has flattened the curve: Wear. A. Mask.

Not sure why this has become a strange political issue or litmus test. It’s simply a health and economic issue. We all will benefit quickly by all of us putting into practice the health guidelines for COVID-19. I think we all want to put this disease in the rear view mirror and by working together we can. Thank you.