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Vermont relaxes mask mandate, following new CDC guidance

By Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
Gov. Phil Scott announced a statewide mask mandate during his Covid-19 press briefing on July 24, 2020. Scott announced a relaxation of those masking rules on Friday.

By Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

Vermonters who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or adhere to social distancing guidelines, Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday.

The change follows a drastic shift in guidance announced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday. The new rules stipulate that fully vaccinated people can largely resume normal activity without masks or social distancing.

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated starting two weeks after their final dose.

The relaxation of state guidance comes weeks earlier than scheduled. The Scott administration’s reopening plan, announced in April, previously maintained masking and social distancing measures outside of one’s household until July 4. At that point, both masks and distancing were still recommended.

Scott acknowledged that some may be uncomfortable with the change.

“The fact is, if you’re fully vaccinated, the health experts at the CDC have determined there is very little risk,” Scott said. “It’s time to reward all the hard work you’ve done over the past 14 months to make Vermont’s pandemic response the best in the country.”

Scott also announced Friday that Step 3 of the restart plan would take effect immediately, two weeks ahead of schedule. Under that stage, travelers no longer need to get a Covid test upon entering the state.

Capacity limits for gatherings are also relaxed. Up to 300 unvaccinated people, in addition to any number of vaccinated people, are allowed at indoor gatherings, with one unvaccinated person allowed per 50 square feet. The limit for outdoor gatherings is 900.

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