At his COVID-19 update today, Vermont Governor Phil Scott was joined by the state’s at-large Congressman to review the new federal coronavirus relief package.
Governor Scott opened his briefing announcing some changes in state COVID guidelines. While cases are higher than state officials would like, the level of COVID positive cases appears to be stabilizing with a positive test rate at or below 2.2 percent. The state has prohibited social gatherings between multiple households but due to the improved data Scott announced a limited modification to that rule. “I want to stress there’s a risk of COVID transmission when people gather especially indoors and without masking. However given our virus case numbers have leveled out and that the other stringent measures will remain in place gathering with one other trusted household will be allowed from December 23rd through January 2nd. Gathering with more than one household, even if it’s on different days, is not permitted.”
If the household is from outside Vermont quarantine requirements must be followed.
Scott also announced that the state is returning to earlier pandemic rules for activities such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, hiking and other outdoor recreation. “Which means as long as you can physically distance and wear a mask you can participate in these activities with others outside your household. Mingling afterwards is not allowed. Finally we’ll be moving into a phased restart of youth recreational and school sports. Beginning December 26th school-based and youth recreational sports teams may begin practices with individual skills, strength and conditioning drills. This means no contact, physically distance and wearing a mask at all times. This does not include adult rec leagues and spectators continue to be prohibited.”
Democratic Congressman Peter Welch joined the briefing to detail the just passed federal COVID relief bill. “Among the provisions that are in this $900 billion package are $300 in weekly expanded unemployment. That supplement will continue for 10 weeks. There’s a 15% increase in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance. $284 billion in additional Payroll Protection Plan funds. This is going to continue to be very important for all of our small businesses. $25 billion in rental assistance and including another month extension of the eviction moratorium. Education is getting significant aid. And we did get an extension until December 31 of next year for the use of the CARES money.”