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Remaining stranded Vermont ski workers head home to Peru

July 23, 2020 GMT

JAY, Vt. (AP) — The last of the remaining foreign ski workers who have been stranded at Vermont’s Jay Peak resort during the coronavirus pandemic were on their way home to Peru on Thursday, officials said.

“We are all very grateful that they will all be with their families soon,” said Melissa Sheffer, the resort’s director of rooms and community engagement, of the college students who work seasonally at the resort.

Jay Peak has been providing them food, free accommodations, trips to the store, health checks, hiking trips, and a canoe outing, she said. The resort took the five employees to Boston on Wednesday and they flew to Miami and got on a plan to Lima on Thursday morning, Sheffer said. A sixth extended her visa and moved in with friends in the area, she said.

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U.S. ski areas employ about 7,500 J1 visa holders each year, according to the U.S. Ski Areas Association. Many had planned to fly home in March, but when the pandemic closed Peru’s borders, some were stranded.

In other coronavirus-related news from Vermont:

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HIGHWAY REST AREAS

Many of Vermont’s highway rest areas and welcome centers are once again open to the public.

The state’s highest-volume rest areas and welcome centers reopened Wednesday after being closed because of the pandemic, MyNBC5.com reported.

The reopened rest areas have a number of modifications reflecting Department of Health guidelines to mitigate risks from COVID-19. Face masks are required and are available at the door.

Orange cones and floor tape help ensure social distancing. Coffee machines and water fountains are not in use and vending machines are taped off.

Each facility will be disinfected twice a day.

State Buildings Commissioner Chris Cole said he believes they’re safe.

“It’s about reducing time in the facility,” Cole said. “We want the facilities to be open, we want people to use them, but we want people to get in and get out after they’ve taken care of business.”

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NUMBERS

The Vermont Health Department Thursday reported 11 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19. Ten of the cases were in Chittenden County. The eleventh case was in Windsor County.

There are two people hospitalized in the state with COVID-19.

The number of deaths remains at 56, where it has been for more than a month.