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Vermont Governor Extends Pandemic State Of Emergency

Vermont Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley/WAMC
File: Vermont Governor Phil Scott

Governor Phil Scott has extended the State of Emergency for Vermont, but at the same time eased some of the stay-home requirements established to combat COVID-19.
On March 13th, Vermont’s Republican governor imposed a state of emergency as part of his administration’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.  It was extended to May 15th. Governor Scott on Friday again extended the State of Emergency.  “While our trends remain promising we know we’re not out of the woods yet especially as our neighboring states and Quebec are still seeing more cases and more deaths. That’s why today I’ve extended the State of Emergency until June 15th. This will allow us to continue responding and managing this public health crisis while we transition out of it. We’re also relaxing the Stay at Home Stay Safe order by aligning it with the sectors and social activities that were already allowed to open and with our restart strategy.”

Scott uses an analogy of turning a spigot as his administration restarts Vermont’s economy.  In easing the Stay Home rule he asked Vermonters to remain vigilant by staying close to home and limiting contact. He is also easing some lodging and accommodations restrictions.  “This order also includes our next turn of the spigot allowing more limited openings of our campgrounds, marinas and lodging facilities.  This will begin next Friday May 22nd. This order also encourages mask use while in public. But understanding every municipality has different needs we’ve come to the conclusion it would be appropriate to allow them to implement more strict requirements. So we’re allowing them to do so.  And if the data continues to move in the right direction between now and June 1st you can expect us to open up close contact businesses. This is if we continue to move in the right direction.”

Secretary of Commerce Lindsay Kurrle outlined some of the requirements that lodgings and accommodations must meet and follow as they reopen.  “Effective May 22nd lodging operations, short term rentals, campgrounds and marinas may accept overnight reservations from those who have met the 14-day quarantine requirement. Operations may only book 25-percent of their capacity at this time. Vermont residents and those who have met the quarantine requirement will be required to complete a health questionnaire and certification confirming they meet the quarantine requirement and that they have not had symptoms. These new requirements are less about where you are from and more about where you have been and who you have been in contact with.”

Governor Scott was asked how often he could renew his state of emergency. His legal counsel confirmed he can continue to renew it throughout the duration of the emergency.

At 6:30 Friday morning, Scott and state officials laid a wreath in front of the Statehouse and lowered the flag to half-mast and then at 11 a.m. held a moment of silence in honor of National Peace Officers Memorial Day.  


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