Covid-19 updates, Featured

Vermont eases outdoor mask requirements, moves to Step 2 of Vermont Forward Plan

Governor Phil Scott announced April 30 that as of May 1, masks will only be required outdoors in situations where a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, said this change is based on science that shows the risk of transmission when outdoors is very small.

“This is why, now when you’re outdoors, masks will only be required when you’re in a crowd or with multiple households, where you can’t keep a 6-foot distance from others,” Dr. Levine said. “This is regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not.”

Examples of when you do not need a mask include: if you’re outside on a run, your family is on a hike or out for biking, your kids are having an outdoor playdate, you’re on the sidelines watching a baseball game or heading to the beach with plenty of space around you.

“But, as before, if any of your activities turn into a crowded situation, have your mask with you in case you need it,” Dr. Levine said.

He suggested Vermonters can decide whether they need a mask by considering three elements:

• Outside
• Masked
• Distanced
“You need two of these three elements. For example – if you’re outside and distanced, you don’t need a mask. If you’re outside and not distanced, wear a mask. And if you’re not outside, you should wear a mask and keep a distance,” he said.

Phase 2

The Governor also announced that May 1 will mark the start of Phase 2 of the Vermont Forward Plan, which moves additional business sectors to universal guidance.

This next phase also sets new limits on gatherings, including social gatherings at a private residence and events at a venue. For indoor gatherings, there can be one unvaccinated person per 100 square feet up to 150 unvaccinated people (whichever is less), plus any number of fully vaccinated people. For outdoor gatherings, there can be 300 unvaccinated people, plus any number of fully vaccinated people.

Vaccine appointments
Vaccine appointments are available across the state for all Vermonters 16 and older, so if you haven’t yet made yours, sign up today! If you later book a vaccination that’s more convenient for you, please be sure to cancel the original appointment.

Visit healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine to make an appointment through the state registration system or a pharmacy. If you can’t make an appointment online or need help, contact the call center at 855-722-7878.

Covid testing

Whether you traveled or have symptoms, COVID-19 testing is available

Remember, if you are unvaccinated (including children) and traveled outside the state, you must have a Covid-19 test within 3 days of returning to Vermont.

And if you have any symptom, no matter how mild, such as a headache, cough, fatigue or a runny nose, it’s best to get tested. It’s also important to avoid going to work, school or other places until you receive a negative result. Covid-19 is a highly transmissible virus, and this is how we can each protect our loved ones and our communities.

Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can still have Covid-19 and not feel sick. If you don’t have symptoms and want to get tested, there are many test sites now available around the state. It’s free and easy!

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