Covid-19 updates

Gov. Scott announces new gathering guidance for unvaccinated households

Dr. Levine receives the Covid-19 vaccine at the the University of Vermont Medical Center vaccination clinic at the Essex Fairgrounds.

Today, March 12, Governor Phil Scott announced  new gathering guidance for people who are not vaccinated: Two unvaccinated people or households can now gather at a time.

“You’re not limited to choose just one other household,” Scott said. “You can do so with multiple households, as long as it’s just one at any given time.”

People who are vaccinated “don’t count against the limit,” he said, and kids can have playdates again.

Gov. Scott also announced restaurants now will be able to seat six people at a table and they can be from different families.

“I know these changes are not as big as many other states have announced, including those in our region,” he said. “But we feel they’re positive and safe steps forward and you can expect another spigot turn next week.”

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, reiterated that anyone who gathers with others who is not vaccinated still needs to follow guidance to prevent the spread of the virus — wearing masks and keeping at least a 6-foot distance.

“Remember how well we did with this last summer and early fall, before that first surge in cases. As Vermonters, we were able to live our lives while still taking those necessary steps to protect one another,” Dr. Levine said. “I know we can do that again, especially with our progress in vaccination. But this virus has not gone away. We are still seeing cases of COVID-19, and we know we are now dealing with a more transmissible variant.

He urged Vermonters to continue to keep any gathering as safe as possible by:

  • Staying outside when you can
  • Choosing activities where you can keep masks on and maintain your distance.
  • Thinking about where you’ve been recently and whether it could put others at risk, especially if someone is at higher risk.
  • Having the “COVID talk”: negotiate boundaries with others and establish expectations before you get together.
  • And always avoiding any gathering if you have symptoms of illness.

Following the Governor’s press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Levine received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the University of Vermont Medical Center vaccination clinic at the Essex Fairgrounds.

Dr. Levine framed the moment in a way so many of us have been thinking as vaccine becomes more widely available, now, a year into the pandemic.

“We’ve been working so hard on getting the vaccine to Vermonters that I’ve hardly had a moment to reflect on what it means to me,” said Dr. Levine. “But, like many of you, I look forward to spending time with family and friends, to seeing my out of state son and his wife, and my daughter and her husband, and hugging my granddaughter. And yes, hugging will be in order, and will be the doctor’s order for all of you who follow in my footsteps. Like many of you, while I feel grateful for Zoom, it has not come even close to making up for missing seeing her grow from a 5-month-old baby to a year and a half toddler.”

Acknowledging that after months of ‘talking the talk’ he now gets to ‘walk the walk,’ “I’ve said it before, but today I’ll get to show it — these vaccines are safe and effective,” Dr. Levine said. “It feels great to do my part in protecting our community and stopping this pandemic. I encourage all Vermonters to do the same as soon as they are eligible.”

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