Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced a loosening of gathering restrictions during his COVID-19 briefing Friday.
During his speech to the nation Thursday, President Joe Biden announced an acceleration of plans to vaccinate Americans. "I’m announcing that I will direct all states, tribes, and territories to make all adults — people 18 and over — eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1. That’s much earlier than expected. Let me be clear: That doesn’t mean everyone’s going to have that shot immediately, but it means you’ll be able to get in line beginning May 1."
Republican Governor Phil Scott said Vermont is on track to beat President Biden’s goal for vaccinations. “We’re confident here in Vermont that we will have the majority of those who want to be vaccinated long before the Fourth of July. Our goal is to work along our plan with age banding and do it before May 1st. But some of it does depend on the supply.”
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders joined the meeting via video to report on how the American Rescue Act will help Vermont. “Senator Leahy, Congressman Welch and I worked very hard to increase the amount of funding going directly into the state. Further probably the most important thing that we could do at this moment is just get cash into the hands of struggling families. In our state about 89% of the households will be beneficiaries of these direct payments. This legislation extends unemployment benefits to early September. And importantly there will be a tax deduction for the first $10,000 unemployment that people received in 2020.”
Vermont’s governor also announced a loosening of restrictions for small multi-household gatherings and seating at restaurants. “We’re issuing guidance to allow two non-vaccinated households to gather at a time. We’ll also change our restaurant guidance. Effective today restaurants will be able to seat six people at a table and they can be from different families. Of course capacity, distancing and every other guideline remains in place. We’re making this change because our health experts believe it’s safe to do so.”
Governor Scott said he will sign another one month extension to the state’s pandemic State of Emergency on Monday.
Some audio is courtesy WCAX-TV.