On Friday, April 3, Attorney General T.J. Donovan published Attorney General’s Directive to Law Enforcement on the Enforcement of COVID-19 Emergency Order. The directive is geared toward law enforcement, including state’s attorneys, sheriffs, and police.
The directive establishes that the Attorney General will bring all enforcement actions related to the COVID-19 Emergency Order and provides steps for how law enforcement should approach noncompliant businesses and individuals. The Attorney General’s directive instructs law enforcement who encounter noncompliant businesses or individuals to provide education and request voluntary compliance. If noncompliance continues, law enforcement will report those issues and the Attorney General’s Office will work with law enforcement to develop an appropriate response.
The directive also clarifies the available penalties: A civil violation of up to $1,000 per violation per day and criminal violation of up to $500 fine and/or up to 6 months imprisonment.
“I want to thank law enforcement for the incredible work they are doing to help keep us safe,” said Attorney General Donovan. “We’ve all got to do our part to protect each other, and I know Vermonters are going to do the right thing.”
“Like the Governor, we believe Vermonters are doing and will do their part to enhance and maintain community safety. Municipal leadership, public safety agencies and the public should be partners in this process,” Donovan added.
Scott’s executive order does not authorize road closure or the establishment of roadblocks, checkpoints or the authority to demand identification.
There will continue to be motor-vehicle and pedestrian traffic as Vermonters pursue permissible activities outdoors and travel to and from businesses and entities that are continuing to operate under the order. Accordingly, the order does not establish cause to initiate a motor vehicle stop.
This guidance does not preclude local municipal and law enforcement officials from enforcing the Governor’s orders as civil violations of municipal ordinances or regulations, if relevant ordinances or regulations exist, as long as that enforcement is not inconsistent with orders, directives, and guidance from the Governor, the Attorney General, and other State officials.