COVID-19/Town Services

Centers for Disease Control   

Vermont Department of Health

UVM Medical Center      

Vermont Emergency Management 

COVID-19 Community Guide  

Vermont Department of Health FAQ

COVID UPDATE:  As of September 9, there are 65 COVID cases in Colchester, which is not surprising considering our residential and employment populations as well as our location in the most populated county in the State of Vermont

We have flattened the curve here in Vermont, but we need to crush the curve.  Do not let up now.  Continue to be careful.  Bring masks with you when leaving your home, and wear them when in stores and around others who don’t live in your home. Crush the curve!

Social Media: From the Vermont Department of Health:  “It’s  ...important to get information from reliable, credible sources. Misinformation and rumors can be common in rapidly changing situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage Vermonters to seek science-based information from trusted sources.”Please do not post, repost, share, or forward information about COVID from second-hand, unconfirmed, or anonymous sources on social media.  If you are seeking action--which make us all safer--please consider the below from the Vermont Department of Health.  

 Town Role in COVID-19 Response: Your Town staff is focused on continued delivery of crucial public safety services such as rescue, fire, and police. We support these services with facilities, equipment, and support such as: information technology, human resources, finance, treasury, coordination of resources and local public information.

Colchester has a well-developed Emergency Operations Plan which was updated by the Selectboard on March 17th. We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation since January, and developed continuation of operations plans for municipal services. The plans help maintain the crucial services; help keep the public safe, and help maintain the capacity of our first responding public safety services. Also in March, Aaron Frank, Town Manager, declared a State of Emergency under the Colchester Code of Ordinances Chapter 16, Emergency Management. This declaration allows the Town to exercise emergency powers to help protect the public health and safety of our community.

We are also in regular communication with the Vermont Emergency Operations Center regarding conditions in Colchester and taking advantage of State and Federal resources when they are available.

Town Services: The Town follows the recommendations from the State of Vermont and the Centers for Disease Control as they pertain to the Town as an employer and a provider of emergency and municipal services.  With the exception of crucial municipal services such as rescue, fire, police, dispatch, critical road and infrastructure maintenance, municipal departments may have reduced staff due to the hiring freeze and furloughs.

The Town is temporarily operating with reduced staff and other resources due to COVID-19, resulting in the reduction or suspension of some Town services. This is necessary due to the impact of Federal and State COVID-19 related work rules on service delivery, higher Town expenses related to COVID-19, and reductions in Town fee revenues due to the evolving public health emergency and related economic and regulatory climate.  The Town receives about $7.5M annually or about 40% of its total annual revenue from non-tax fees. 

Due to decreases in activity related to COVID-19 and the Governor’s orders to keep the public safe--including work restrictions and physical distancing requirements, we are not generating some fees at all, such as Recreation programs, and others at lower rates, such as Rescue. 

Statewide lost municipal revenues are estimated to be 20%.  Considering the changed economic climate, the reduced ability to provide services, the remaining work restrictions, and the concern for revenues, the Town has implemented a purchasing freeze, a hiring freeze, and furloughs accounting for 27 full-time staff.  This is 25% of our total workforce and 50% of the workforce excluding public safety. This will have a profound effect on service delivery and limit our ability to address non-urgent complaints or issues. We are carefully attending to Town revenues, reporting to the Selectboard monthly, and will work carefully to align services with revenues. 

Most Library programs and Recreation programs are suspended until further notice. The Library building is closed to public access and we are offering curbside and online services. Most recreation camps are being held since they serve as child care to keep people working.

Colchester Town Offices at 781 Blakely Rd. are open to the public from 7:30 am to noon except for Town Holidays. Masks are required. We are still at half our normal staffing levels--except for public safety--due to the furloughs. We will use the time in the afternoon to process work brought in during the morning. We are available by phone and email in the afternoon. Our online services are available 24/7. Thank you for your patience. Town Directory: https://tinyurl.com/Col-Town-Dir

The Colchester staff is required by the Governors orders to wear face coverings when in the close presence of others. We have a requirement for the public to wear face coverings as well when visiting buildings in which Town employees or volunteers work. We cannot allow entry to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to enter Town buildings. COVID-19 Symptoms include: Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Chills, Repeated shaking with chills, Muscle pain, Headache, Sore throat, and New loss of taste or smell

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time. 

Information about changed services: 

Assessor                      

Colchester’s Burnham Library           

Parks & Recreation     

Planning and Zoning                          

Public Works

Town Clerk/Treasurer

Town Newsletters with COVID-19 Updates Updates beginning March

 Click here

Other Local Services & Updates:

Vermont Modeling

Unemployment: 

Unemployment: During the current economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the unemployment rate rose extremely fast—but is now declining quickly, at least in Vermont and Colchester. Initially, the Colchester unemployment rate rose from 1.9% to 13.3% in two months. We are now at 3.8% unemployment. This is well below the 6.3% peak of the 2007-2009 recession. Info on past downturns: https://colchestervt.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/693

 The 3.8% unemployment rate only represents people who are actively looking for a job. The unemployment rate would not include people who cannot work due to lack of childcare or a variety of other reasons. In August 2020, 9.1% or 803 fewer Colchester residents were working than in August 2019. Unemployment definitions: https://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm. National, State, County and Colchester Unemployment: http://www.vtlmi.info/laus.pdf

 Local Resources for those in Need:

  • Colchester Food Shelf  245 Main Street, Colchester, 802.879.2444 - Open Wed Noon - 6 PM
  • Chittenden County Food Shelf  228 North Winooski Ave, Burlington, 802. 658.7939 - Open M - F 9 AM - 4 PM
  • Colchester Helping Colchester  matching those in need of non-emergency assistance with volunteers for deliveries or other errands.  If you are in need of assistance:
  • Childcare for Essential Persons Childcare is available for those who have been deemed essential to the COVID-19 response. Workers in critical businesses and whom are working out of the home and do not have other options are eligible for child care.
  • WIC gives access to healthy foods, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, and more.  If you’re pregnant, a caregiver, or a parent with a child under five, check if you qualify for WIC.
  • 3SquaresVT (known nationally as SNAP) A state food assistance program based on income.
  • AgeWellVT.org The leading experts and advocates for the aging population of Northwestern Vermont. Contact them to volunteer to be a Meals on Wheels Driver. They are always in need of volunteers, especially now. Contact Erica Marks at emarks@agewellvt.org
  • Unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Vermont Department of Labor 800-983-2300.
  •  Vermont Department of Labor Virtual Town Hall  Information on various topics relating to COVID-19
  • Vermont 211: Dial 211 for a directory of state and non-profit human service programs
  • Home Loan Assistance Vermont Financial Regulation’s Summary of National Foreclosure Freezes and Forbearance Programs for consumer assistance loan types as well as holds on foreclosures and evictions.
  • Rental Housing Stabilization Program The Vermont State Housing Authority is for funding landlords on behalf of tenants in need of rental arrearage assistance due to COVID-19 to avert tenant eviction. 
  •  Emergency Mortgage Assistance The State of Vermont received money through the Federal CARES Act to help people pay back mortgage payments they have missed due to COVID-19. Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) is accepting applications. Funding is limited, and applications will be accepted until funding expires. Eligibility Requirements include: Homeowners living in Vermont as their primary residence; Mortgage entered before March 1, 2020 (home-equity loans and reverse mortgage are NOT eligible); Two or more missed payments due to a COVID-19; and Income for all borrowers for the previous 90 days does not exceed $21,000 ($24,000 in Chittenden County)
  • Utility Bill Assistance Program  Grant funding to assist Vermonters with overdue utility bills as a result of economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide 100% of eligible outstanding arrearages that are more than 60 days overdue for regulated utility customers with delinquent balances who may face disconnection of service. Applications will be accepted through November 30, 2020 and grants will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. Email atpsd.consumer@vermont.gov or call 1-800-622-4496.

Residential Information:

Mental Health Resources:

  • First Call For Chittenden County Serving clients and the community regardless of age or diagnosis. Trained staff is available 24/7/365, regardless of the type of service. Call for phone support, crisis intervention and assessment, referrals to appropriate services, and connection to follow-up care. Call    802-488-7777
  • Coronavirus and Our Mental Health Sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Human Services.
  • Mental Health: How to Get Help Sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Human Services.

Business Information:

Local Volunteering Opportunities:

State-wide Volunteering Opportunities: