Governor Phil Scott announced, Friday, Aug. 14, that he was extending the Covid-19 State of Emergency by a month, to Sept. 15.
Scott said the State of Emergency is a tool that is needed to be able to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances in order to protect Vermonters from a potential surge in Covid-19 cases.
“We’ve made tremendous progress since this pandemic started and have suppressed the virus even as we’ve reopened much of the economy,” said Gov. Scott.
“We should be proud of what we’ve done but given what the rest of the country is facing, every one of us must stay vigilant to protect the gains we’ve made. This means wearing a mask when around those you don’t live with, staying six feet apart, washing your hands a lot, staying home when you’re sick and following our travel guidance,” Scott added.
Scott also announced Friday, that he was adding local discretion for gathering size limits and liquor sales. The order enables cities and towns to enact stricter local limits for gatherings than those established by the state.
Municipalities may also mandate shorter hours for the sale of alcohol by bars and clubs than those set forth by the Dept. of Liquor and Lottery.
“As college students begin to return to Vermont, I believe giving our towns — especially the college towns — some additional mitigation measures to work with is the right thing to do,” said Governor Scott, who later said the order may help Burlington the most, whereas Island Pond and other smaller towns might not need it.
Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger has specifically voiced concern over the University of Vermont’s reopening plans, particularly its ability to control student parties or gatherings and the city’s ability to enforce limits on social distancing and gathering size, especially at bars.
“Our response has been one of the most comprehensive and effective in the U.S., and while we know we may see additional cases in the fall, we’ll continue to adapt our approach based on new facts, the data we track in real time, and the input of our world-class health experts,” added Scott.