The disparate impacts of COVID-19 on people of color, women, and essential workers became more evident as the pandemic continued. Accessing vital resources to stabilize employees that experienced household income loss, unemployment challenges, safe childcare options, food insecurity and access to mental health services and supports were some connections made during the initial response phase of COVID-19. Essential workers faced with “pandemic fatigue” were overjoyed at the opportunity to access Vermont’s State Parks with the passes provided by Vermont Parks Forever. Frontline employees we provided day-use passes to included healthcare workers such as LNAs, PCAs, nurses, medical coders, dining services and environmental services as well as production line and shipping employees at manufacturing sites. Recreating outdoors with family and friends became a “getaway” for so many employees that needed the opportunity to feel safe, to break isolation, to feel energized, and to see that the parks are a way they can take care of themselves in high stress times.
“…we took a walk on the trails and then enjoyed the lake. It was just what I needed to recharge for the return to my healthcare setting during a pandemic. Thank you for supporting us with the pass which motivated me to get out there!” ~ 2020 healthcare employee