Golf courses, parks, trail networks can open along with other low or no direct physical contact operations; out-of-state visitors are still encouraged to stay home (or come up and stay long-term)
On Wednesday, May 6, Governor Phil Scott announced that outdoor recreation and limited social interactions may resume under strict health and safety precautions, as state modeling continues to indicate a slow in the spread of Covid-19.
While the Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect, if able to comply with outlined safety measures, the Governor’s latest order allows the following social activities to resume:
• Gatherings of 10 or fewer. Vermonters may now leave home for outdoor recreation and fitness activities with low or no direct physical contact and to resume limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings that allow for greater physical distancing protocols.
• Inter-household socializing. Members of one household may gather – and allow children to play – with members of another trusted household, provided health and safety precautions are followed as much as possible.
The Governor’s order, Addendum 13, includes additional health and safety guidelines for these interactions, including following safety and hygiene protocols, limiting non-essential travel, and protecting those in at-risk categories, who should continue to stay home. It also directs the Commissioner of Health to provide additional recommendations.
“These small gatherings will give Vermonters a chance to reunite and enjoy each other’s company. But we must do so carefully,” said Governor Scott. “There is no specific set of rules, or enforcement measures that we can put in place here. We need Vermonters to be smart and thoughtful during these visits. We have to remain vigilant, so we don’t lose ground as we continue, slowly and safely, reopening Vermont in a way that puts public health first.”
Addendum 13 also authorizes businesses, non-profit and government entities that support or offer outdoor recreation and outdoor fitness activities with low or no direct physical contact to begin operations on May 7. These include but are not limited to state and municipal parks, recreation associations, trail networks, golf courses, big game check stations and guided expeditions. Campgrounds, marinas and beaches are not permitted to open at this time.
Guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through outdoor recreation and outdoor fitness, including “arrive, play and leave” requirements, signage and registration to limit facility use to Vermonters and those who have met the 14-day quarantine requirement, elimination of non-essential touch points and/or staff-customer interactions, reduction of high contact surfaces and common areas and limiting rental equipment and restroom facilities to those which can be thoroughly disinfected, are included in the order and in additional guidance from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. These operations are also subject to all health and safety precautions set in Addendum 12.
“As we continue to take modest steps to reopen our economy, there are also equally important steps related to how we spend our down time – our play time,” said Julie Moore, secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. “As Vermont’s winter transforms to a bright and green spring, many of us are itching to get outside and go a bit further afield and no longer are Vermonters being asked to limit outings to within 10 miles of their homes. Now, more than ever, we need to rekindle this relationship with the outdoors, but we must do so in a way that respects physical distancing and helps keep all of us healthy.”
For a full list of health and safety requirements for all newly opened operations, click here to view Addendum 13.
To view the ACCD’s specific safety guidelines and protocols for businesses, as well as additional resources, visit accd.vermont.gov.
For more information on:
• COVID-19 health information, guidance and case data, visit healthvermont.gov/covid19.
• The Governor’s actions, visit governor.vermont.gov/covid19response.
• The state’s modeling, visit dfr.vermont.gov/about-us/covid-19/modeling.