Vermont Governor Phil Scott is mandating that people who arrive in the state quarantine themselves for 14 days to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The restrictions issued Monday apply to both Vermonters and out-of-staters arriving for anything other than “an essential purpose.” The governor says he took the additional action after the CDC issued guidance on Sunday advising residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days. “In light of this, in my continued concern for the public health and safety of all those in Vermont, I've signed a new order directing anyone who enters Vermont to self-quarantine for 14 days once they're here. And that means heading directly to where you're going with no stops in between. And it’s not just our border states. This means those who have wintered across the country. We need everyone entering Vermont to be a good neighbor and abide by the self-isolation directive and then to follow afterwards my ‘Stay at Home, Stay Safe’ order.”
Scott added that there are exemptions to the 14-day quarantine, which does not apply to people going to the grocery store or an essential job across the border. “I can give you an example. Let's say someone who's living over in Plattsburgh is working at UVM Medical Center. They're part of the COVID-19 response. So we understand they'll be going back and forth. So that would be allowed. If, for instance, someone is dealing with national security, working for border patrol or something of that nature, that would be exempted as well.”
The executive order also clarified that lodging facilities in Vermont must be closed unless they are supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Schirling reported that law enforcement was directed to check for compliance over the weekend. “Three hundred eighteen properties are known to exist in Vermont exclusive of the Airbnb-type properties. Of that Vermont State Police and local law enforcement were able to successfully check on all of those properties. Of them 88 were open. Half of those 88 were in compliance. In other words, they were housing folks that were involved in the response: visiting nurses, health care professionals, military folks, flight crews that are flying in and out of Burlington International Airport and the like. Forty-four appear to be noncompliant. For those noncompliant properties they received a letter from the Department of Health and the Department of Public Safety indicating that they need to bring their operations into compliance.”
Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan says his office is following up with the apparent non-compliant lodging facilities. “The governor's executive order does carry penalties. There are civil penalties that range from $1,000 to up to $10,000 per violation. There is also a criminal penalty that carries a $500 fine and a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment. I want to be very clear. The last thing any of us want to do is enforce these orders and seek those penalties. We’re asking for your compliance. We’re asking for your cooperation.”
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine reported that they are following a new coronavirus outbreak at the Pinecrest at Essex senior living community in Essex Junction. “There are now two deaths associated with that facility. One, not a person that was living there, but that was a significant other of an employee there. And the second occurring over the weekend someone who was actually living there.”
As of Monday, Vermont had 256 positive cases and 12 deaths, of which seven occurred at the Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center.