MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is preparing to welcome the return of Amtrak passenger rail service and inter-city bus services to the state, the Agency of Transportation announced Thursday.
Amtrak service, which was suspended last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, will resume July 19.
The resumption of service comes as Vermont is preparing for its post-pandemic reopening. Gov. Phil Scott has announced plans for the state to be largely reopened by July 4, if current vaccination rates continue.
“With the Governor’s announcement this week of the Vermont Forward Plan to re-open Vermont fully during the next few months, we now have a target date for when we will be able to safely resume Amtrak and transit services in July,” Vermont Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn said in a statement.
Amtrak requires 90-days of notice to resume passenger rail service.
The Amtrak Vermonter travels between St. Albans and Washington and runs through Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Amtrak Ethan Allen Express runs between New York City and Rutland, via Albany, New York.
Intercity bus service provided by Vermont Translines and Greyhound, are also set to resume in July.
The Vermont Health Department is asking people to submit their stories, including original videos, photos or written thoughts about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Select submissions will be featured in a television ad campaign and one entry will be picked at random to receive a $500 cash card. Details can be found on the health department's website.
The state says it's seeking the submissions to show why getting vaccinated is important. The move comes as Vermont is continuing its gradual reopening as more people get vaccinated.
On Friday, Vermont’s travel guidance will change and focus on testing, rather than quarantining.
Also Friday, mostly outdoor businesses, low- or no-contact professional services, retail operations, and farmers’ markets will move from sector-specific to universal guidance. The main principles of the universal guidance are mask wearing, distancing, staying away from crowded places, staying home if sick, practicing good hygiene, and knowing the travel restrictions, the Health Department said.
That will be followed on May 1 by the easing of restrictions on most other sectors, such as manufacturing, restaurants, gyms and hair salons, as well as places of worship and museums.
The goal is to have the state substantially back to normal by July 4.
On Thursday the Vermont Department of Health reported 222 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to almost 20,675.
There were 30 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including six in intensive care.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 remained unchanged at 230.
The AP is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 131.71 new cases per day on March 23 to 166.71 new cases per day on April 6.
The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 0.71 deaths per day on March 23 to 0.43 deaths per day on April 6.