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Governor Scott Looks Towards Relaxing Guidelines As Vaccine Supply Increases

Vermont Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Vermont Governor Phil Scott (file photo)

Governor Phil Scott reported on the latest vaccine distribution plan from the White House today and previewed plans to relax guidelines as more Vermonters receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The National Governors Association holds a conference call with White House officials on Tuesdays to discuss the status of vaccines and planned allocations for the states.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott joined his regular Tuesday briefing mid-course to report that the federal government expects supplies of the vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to increase.   “In April we were told national allocation of all doses should continue to increase as time goes on. So this is the assurance we’ve been waiting for and we’ll use this information to update our projections. And on Friday we’ll announce when our next age band 60-plus will open. And with these assurances on supply I’ll also be able to outline the full schedule for all remaining age bands in order to accomplish making every Vermonter over the age of 16 eligible by the end of April.”  

The Republican has said he hopes the state can return to normal by July 4th and was asked how he defines what normal will look like.  “There are a lot of things that come into play. You know from my standpoint there may be still guidelines we might put out in terms of mask wearing. I don’t think that will be completely over for those who have not been vaccinated nor are they willing to be. There may be other restrictions that we’re not aware of. For instance I don’t know when the border is going to open up and what that’s going to mean.  I tried to ask that question last week with the White House but they didn’t have a definitive answer.  So a lot of what-if’s but from my standpoint it’s almost like we’re back to where we were pre-pandemic in terms of having businesses open and being able to freely travel throughout the United States.”

The latest COVID relief bill was signed by President Biden last week. Vermont Secretary of Administration Suzanne Young provided an overview of how the American Rescue Plan could impact the state.   “This is the third major piece of federal legislation that provides emergency economic relief to the state, Vermont businesses and institutions, non-profits and individual Vermonters. The rescue plan brings the total federal relief to Vermont to approximately $7.5 billion since the first month of the pandemic.  The American Rescue Plan is a package of aid. We await additional plan details and federal guidance and rules that apply to a number of the programs funded in the plan.”

Governor Scott said he expects the State of Emergency, which he has extended monthly, will be needed for at least three more months.