Order permits lodging reservations to begin June 15
On Friday, April 10, Governor Phil Scott extended Vermont’s State of Emergency through May 15, which also extends the expiration date of all corresponding orders and directives issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original State of Emergency, issued on March 13, was set to expire on April 15, as were the subsequent mitigation measures. As a result of this extension, all measures, including the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order, are now in effect until midnight on May 15 (note: schools remain dismissed for in-person instruction through the end of the school year).
“These are incredibly difficult times, and I know this extension is disappointing news for many. But the fact is, Vermonters are literally saving hundreds of lives by staying home,” said Governor Scott. “We are making big sacrifices to save lives, but we cannot let our foot off the gas just yet. We will continue to watch the trends, and as soon as the data shows a downward trend, we can open the spigot, a quarter turn at a time, to get folks back to work in a way that’s responsible and safe. Please know, I will work every hour of every day, for as long as it takes, to see Vermont through this and to help rebuild stronger than we were before.”
The Scott administration developed and continues to update state-specific modeling to project COVID-19 case growth and track capacity of the healthcare system and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and life-saving equipment like ventilators. This data, along with guidance from public health experts at the Vermont Department of Health, has informed the mitigation measures put in place throughout this crisis.
Modeling shows that the mitigation measures have slowed the expected spread of this contagious disease but that the state has not yet hit its peak number of cases. Accordingly, Governor Scott, in consultation with Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, has extended the State of Emergency and all associated social distancing measures.
Lodging will open June 15
In addition to extending the State of Emergency, the order authorizes Vermont lodging operators to accept reservations for stays and events occurring on June 15 or later.
Prior to that announcement Friday, Airbnb and Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO), the two giants in the short-term rental booking industry, each sent emails to their hosts alerting them that they’d be blocking online bookings starting April 8 in compliance with the governor’s orders.
Governor Scott originally issued the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order on March 24, then on March 30 ordered additional restrictions requiring short-term rental operators to refrain from accepting new guests or making new reservations for stays for an indefinite period of time.
“In light of the Governor’s order, we will be blocking calendars for future bookings starting April 8, 2020 into the indefinite future. Existing guests may remain through the end of their stay but should not be allowed to extend their reservations,” wrote The Airbnb team. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, but appreciate your support in ensuring compliance with this new directive as state and local governments address COVID-19 public health concerns.”
VRBO wrote: “Vermont has prohibited lodging providers from accepting online reservations due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns. The Governor’s order is effective through April 15, with the possibility of extension. Vrbo has been contacted by the Office of the Vermont Attorney General and will be hiding our partners’ listings in accordance with the Governor’s order and any extension to the order.”