Weinberger closes some streets for social distancing as bike path gets too crowded

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Weinberger closes some streets for social distancing as bike path gets too crowded

Sun, 04/05/2020 - 11:53am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger issued two important update to city regulations in order to encourage and enforce social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and so that everyone follows Governor Scott's orders. One is that individuals will be warned and then fined if they do not follow the orders. Second is that "in response to overwhelming constituent outreach that the Bike Path and sidewalks were too crowded to stay compliant with social distancing guidelines, the City is limiting some streets to local traffic only in order to allow for individuals or households taking walks and exercising to more easily keep a 6-foot distance with others." See detail below.

This week during daily public briefings, the City forecast that it would be issuing new enforcement measures and road closures consistent with the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe order. Late Friday, in order to have these measures in place for the weekend, and following the Attorney General’s afternoon release of a new directive for enforcement of the Governor’s COVID-19 executive order, the Mayor issued two emergency regulations with the goals of protecting public safety and creating more open space for people to do solitary exercise in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

Today the Mayor issued this statement regarding these new emergency regulations:

“I am grateful that the overwhelming majority of Burlingtonians are complying with the Stay Home Stay Safe order from the Governor. However, unfortunately, there are some individuals still choosing to put themselves and the greater public at risk with their actions, and the City has a responsibility to act to ensure public safety. The purpose of these citations is not to interfere in any way with people who are exercising outdoors, going to work, etc. in full compliance with the governor’s orders, but to address those who intentionally violate the orders, putting themselves and others at risk of spreading this disease.

"In response to overwhelming constituent outreach that the Bike Path and sidewalks were too crowded to stay compliant with social distancing guidelines, the City is limiting some streets to local traffic only in order to allow for individuals or households taking walks and exercising to more easily keep a 6-foot distance with others. These temporary measures will start this weekend and be expanded next weekend, and are intended to be in place only during the public health emergency.  Public feedback on these measures is welcome and the City will consider making adjustments as this emergency evolves.”

SOCIAL DISTANCING: COVID-19 Emergency Regulation 2 (to be cited as CER 2):
(a) The purpose of this regulation is to preserve the public health and safety and in particular
to provide for safer exercise opportunities for Burlington residents in light of the needs for social
distancing and to alleviate crowding of current public spaces where exercise occurs. These
emergency changes to public rights-of-way are temporary and shall end no later than the date
when my Emergency Declaration is lifted.
(b) Starting at 6 am on April 4, 2020, Birchcliff Parkway will be limited to local traffic only, and
no through traffic shall be allowed, to provide safer space for pedestrians and bicyclists. Drivers
will be cautioned to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists in the right-of-way. Proper, temporary
signage will be posted.
(c) Starting at 6 am on April 4, 2020, parking will be temporarily prohibited on the east side of
Pine Street between Lakeside Avenue and Maple Street to better accommodate walkers, runners,
cyclists, as the parallel portion of the Burlington Greenway bike path is closed for reconstruction.
Proper, temporary signage will be posted.
(d) The Department of Public Works, in consultation with the Burlington Police Department,
Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront Department, and other appropriate City departments, shall
prepare an Emergency Shared Streets Plan. Once I, the Mayor, have approved that Emergency
Shared Streets Plan, further temporary alterations either to these or other rights-of-ways may be
made by the Director of Public Works, and proper signage will be posted.
(e) No permanent change to any street or traffic pattern will be enacted without going through
the process and authorities prescribed in the Burlington City Charter and Code of Ordinances.

PENALTIES: COVID-19 Emergency Regulation 1 (to be cited as CER 1):
(a) The purpose of this regulation is to preserve the public health and safety.
(b) Any person, business, or organization who, within the boundaries of the City of Burlington,
intentionally fails to abide by any lawful order issued by a federal, state, or local government in connection
with the COVID-19 emergency, and in particular the requirements stated by the Governor of Vermont in
Executive Order No. 01-20, issued March 13, 2020 and titled, “Declaration of State of Emergency in Response
to COVID-19 and National Guard Call-Out,” and its Addenda (collectively “EO 1-20”) shall be subject to the
civil penalties in the Burlington Code of Ordinances section 1-9, applied as follows:
(1) First offense: A first offense by any person, business, or organization shall be
punishable by a minimum fine of $100.00 and a maximum fine of $500.00 with a waiver penalty fine
of $100.00;
(2) Second offense. A second offense by any person, business, or organization shall be
punishable by a minimum fine of $250.00 and a maximum fine of $500.00 with a waiver penalty fine
of $250.00;
(3) Third or subsequent offense. A third or subsequent offense by any person, business,
or organization shall be punishable by a minimum fine of $500.00.
(c) Because of the risk of conveying the COVID-19 virus, any person who, within the boundaries of the
City of Burlington, intentionally spits on, bites, or otherwise intentionally causes the person’s bodily fluid to
come into contact with a law enforcement officer, first responder, or health care professional while that
professional is performing a lawful or public health duty shall, be subject to the criminal penalties in the
Burlington Code of Ordinance section 1-9.
(d) Each incident or each contact of either of the violations above shall be considered a separate incident.
(e) The City may refer any person or entity who violates subsections (b) or (c) above to the appropriate
authority for possible additional enforcement action.

For additional information, please see the Mayor’s daily briefings from Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3.