Vermont Governor Phil Scott and members of his administration are implementing a statewide “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order as the state battles the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor’s semi-regular pandemic update began with Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine displaying a chart illustrating the spread of the virus across the state over the past two weeks. “This is exponential growth and we don’t yet know what the days to come hold but we can anticipate that everything will get higher. I want to remind you that it was only two weeks ago we had one case in Vermont. In my hand I have the most updated data which came after midnight last night and there’s now 123; 28 new cases. The other perspective is that it’s only been about two weeks that we’ve been involved with coronavirus at this level in Vermont and in that period of time we’ve experienced now eight deaths.”
Republican Governor Phil Scott signed a “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday. It mandates all non-essential businesses and non-profits: “……must suspend all in-person business operations. Operations that can be conducted online or by phone, or sales that can be facilitated with curbside pickup or delivery only, can continue.” Individuals are “…directed to stay at home or in their place of residence, leaving only for essential reasons…” Scott says he recognizes the economic and emotional repercussions of his order but based on science and the advice of state health experts, he feels his action is necessary. “I need you to stay home. Doing so will save lives. It’s just that simple. That doesn’t mean you can’t go out for your essential needs or take your dog for a walk or take your cross-country skis out. Just keep your distance from others while doing so. We must all do our part to slow the spread of this deadly virus and protect the vulnerable which includes the elderly and those with underlying chronic conditions. We must also do this to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed which is important to the health and safety of all Vermonters.”
Governor Scott said additional actions will be forthcoming to slow the spread of the virus. “Just to put this into perspective for those that may think we’re going too far. This virus is spreading quickly. It may not have affected you yet but all too soon many of us will know someone personally and then it will start to feel very real. Today we’ll also be announcing that in coordination with Amtrak and partner states Vermont will suspend all Amtrak service beginning tomorrow. Additionally due to the recent snowstorm and the accumulation we received and in consultation with VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) they have agreed to close its trail network for the season beginning today.”