Gov. Scott says no complete reopening yet, but expect to get there soon

Michael Bielawski/TNR

SPIGOT TURN SOON?: Gov. Phil Scott says restrictions on economic activity as well as mask and distancing requirements will continue at least for the immediate future, even as other states including Connecticut have dropped many of their COVID-19 rules.

Gov. Phil Scott at his regular Friday press conference said Vermont will remain under tight restrictions regarding masks, distancing, and business and travel activities even while other states are trending towards opening up completely.

“In the very near future we will be outlining what we see over the next few weeks and in terms of what we need to do to reopen the economy in a much more expediting way,” Scott said. “I would say we are on the other end of this and the future is bright, and I am very optimistic.

“I believe we’ll be able to share that with Vermonters once we get to a point where I feel comfortable enough in sharing in what we’re seeing on the ground all the supply of vaccines that we can firmly say is in the queue and that we feel confident we’ll be receiving.”

Vermont will remain under strong regulations including a statewide mask mandate, six-feet social distancing, strict building capacity limits, plastic shields between bartenders and patrons, and more. The governor said the supply of vaccines combined with improving case numbers would be signs the state can loosen coronavirus-related regulations.

“[We’ll] be able to describe what our plan is as we work our way out of this pandemic and open up our businesses,” Scott said. “So we’ll be able to share that strategy with you in the very near future, but it’s not today.

“And just a reminder: because the other states have done this doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. You know we’re a country of experiments in the individual states, we all have the ability to make decisions based on what we think is right, and we’ve been doing that since day one — it’s served us well.”

For now, Scott says he’s confident in the COVID-19 policies that he’s put into place despite severe impacts on the economy. However, in recent weeks states such as Texas, Mississippi, Connecticut, and Florida have been reducing or eliminating mask and distancing requirements, restaurant and gym capacity limits, and other restrictions.

“I don’t think any of us knows what the very right thing is to do until this is over, and then we’ll be able to reflect on that,” Scott said. “But in terms of our strategy, I feel very confident in what we’ve done and I think the numbers back up what we continue to do.”

Last week Texas fully returned to pre-COVID-19 status. Its restaurant industry can now attempt to reverse the state’s trend of losing about 1,000 restaurants per month.

In Florida, the elimination of the masks mandate was celebrated at BeckyJack’s Food Shack in Spring Hill with a sign that read “Face Diapers Not Required!

In Mississippi, after its mask mandate among other restrictions were lifted, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said, “the governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and can’t do.”

To Vermont’s south, Connecticut Gov, Ned Lamont Lamont announced that on March 19 all capacity limits will be eliminated for restaurants, retail stores, libraries, indoor recreation, gyms/fitness centers, museums, aquariums, zoos, offices, and houses of worship. The governor’s approval rating is now at a record high.

On multiple occasions during the Friday press conference, Scott alluded to the fact that the end of coronavirus restrictions may be coming soon.

“We’re in the last stretch of this race, this war, whatever you want to call it,” he said.

Speaking about masks, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Vermonters can expect to be wearing them in public spaces at least into summer.

“In this future world over these months, at least for the rest of this school year before we get to the summer and fall, people will be masking,” he said.

On a related subject — regulations for schools — Levine said “kids are not transmitting the virus to each other. … I do think our Vermont experience has really born that out.”

Vermont’s governor also said coronavirus vaccine shots may not be forced on Americans legally because they were rapidly developed as an emergency measure.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR
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45 thoughts on “Gov. Scott says no complete reopening yet, but expect to get there soon

  1. Big difference between slamming GOP and further demanding party kick out own members which is a nonstarter – and is in fact a counterproductive canard and attention-grabber. And as everyone who understatnds party apparatus reco0gnizes it cannot be done.

    Donald Trump is working within the party to bring about change and highly successful. John Klar is working within the VT GOP to bring about change and also more success than I’ve seen ever. Our friends in NH and at Granite Grok are working from within the party to bring change and have also succeeded.

    This is what smart ppl do.

    Takes roll-up-your-sleeves work as opposed to demanding others bend to the will of impossibile dreams. Drivebys to slams of GOP and browbeating party leadership demoralizing and unhelpful.

    Think: John Klar candidate recruitment and words of support.

    • Donald Trump made clear at CPAC that he will work within the party to effect change – not weaken by splintering. Swamp is being drained bc of Donald Trump. Following return to Mar-A-Lago all Rs who wish his blessing arrive to kiss his ring and obligatory golf game. Niki Haley who foolishly spoke out against Trump was rejected hence there will be no Pence-Haley ticket in 2024.

      The same McConnell who accused Trump of insurrection then demanded the party reject him entirely is very likely a goner bc the energy is with MAGA and he cannot get the funding to stay in power. Liz Cheney’s name is mud in Wyoming – she will be primaried imo.

      Predict Murkowski will also be primaried – hopefully with Sarah Palin.

      Roy Blunt is stepping down as are:
      Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) have all announced that they will retire at the end of their current terms.

      Ron Johnson is another – Yertl would be the seveneth.

      Lauren Boebert is a rock star and Marjorie Greene is making earth move.

  2. During his CPAC speech in February, Trump repeatedly condemned the RINOs in the party, urging his supporters to “get rid of them.”

    “The only division is between a handful of Washington, DC establishment political hacks, and everybody else all over the country,” he said.

  3. Mashup and interview appear to include overarching issues inextricably linked which include deeper dive into Chinese Covid of which Chancellor Phil’s nazie-esque foray into dictatorship is but a small part – for me this long view is of great value.

    Haven’t watched this entirely but discovered on Mercola website – sponsored by Ron Paul Liberty Org linking to Youtube version bc it’s more reliable at least for me. This covers alot of off-topic territory but anyone is free to not view that portion:
    “February 10, 2021, Instagram banned the account of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an attorney, founder of Children’s Health Defense, and co-founder and president of the environmental group, River Alliance. According to Instagram, his account was removed for “sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.”1”
    “February 10, 2021, Instagram banned the account of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an attorney, founder of Children’s Health Defense, and co-founder and president of the environmental group, River Alliance. According to Instagram, his account was removed for “sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.”1”

  4. Phil Scott is counting federal dollars in his simple head to help him sleep at night. So much for pro-business, lower taxes, working for the working people Phil Scott. States are open and some open from the beginning. Just wait until all those COVID positive illegals start flooding into VT w/o any tests or vaccines….they’ll be here shortly! He can gain more and more federal money because VT has no economy anymore – none – zilch.

  5. Pandemics have been the worst scourge humans have had to face through our history,
    While those commenting here may not agree, most Vermonters feel that Governor Scott has done an excellent job dealing with the many uncertainties over the last year. While you may not agree with his decisions, and he has received harsh criticism from both the left and right, he has been open and forth coming about what we have faced and why he has taken the actions he has.

    With ever increasing amounts of vaccine we should be through this, baring unforeseen developments, and fully open by the end of the summer at the latest. We can then examine the data from the different approaches that were taken in different states and determine which Governors and which methods were truly the best both for the people and their state’s economies.

    • The bedrock issue is that no governor should have nearly unlimited power, yet that’s exactly what Governor Scott and many governors in the US have during ill-defined medical emergencies. This is for a good medical reason (supposedly) but the potential for abuse of this power is enormous, and indeed we can see that the constraints suggested by the 1905 US Supreme Court (Jacobson) have been disregarded: this is all a very slippery slope.

      The argument that a governor needs (unlimited) power to save every possible life doesn’t cut it. It’s a recipe for disaster. Rather than rely on police power, we should be relying on educating the public and persuasion. Let the people decide.

      • In Vermont we have the ability to change all of our elected officials at the capitol every two years drastically limiting any degree of unlimited power. In the Republican party primary and in the general election, Vermonters endorsed the approach of Governor Scott by an overwhelming more than 70%..

        On a national level a good case can be made that Donald Trump was on his way to re-election until the pandemic. His defeat was in a large part due to how he handled the pandemic.

        • Regardless of whether or not we can change governors, the emergency powers of any governor is still there and has to be restrained.

          We don’t have a free state when the governor can do whatever he wants during an emergency, and that most of the population supports him in no way justifies giving any individual virtually unlimited power.

          I fail to see what’s so hard about “let the people decide.” The reason for this is to prevent abuse of power, and in my view it’s the lesser of two evils, if we want to complain that some people won’t make what we consider to be the right decision.

          If Trump had had his way, we would’ve had hydroxychloroquine back in March and this would’ve gone a long way toward minimizing harms from Covid-19. Trump obviously wasn’t pulling the strings, though, because Fauci actively worked against a drug which we know by now had been wrongly maligned and is useful in preventing serious Covid-19. Whose advice were we following as a country? Not Trump’s. We were following Fauci: he was in essence the architect of American Covid-19 policy, and not even when Scott Atlas ostensibly took his place could his influence be curtailed. Trump was essentially sidelined.

        • Yeah John, let’s trust the government. Remember when lobotomies were the cure for the insane, when leaches were used for drawing bad blood from a patient, etc. Take a memory trip back in time and find the true history of the horrors brought to people by well intentioned despots. As a reminder, the constitutional freedoms we enjoy are not suspended during medical emergencies or any other emergency. It is only in such blue states as Vermont that the people have been brow beaten down and uneducated to believe we must submit to a non-existent throne and his enablers.

          • Don’t forget the Government experiments with syphilis on the unsuspecting blacks in the south.

            Ya the government is a fine institution with dedicated bureaucrats that only means is to serve and help the residents.

            Seems that’s what John is saying.

          • Emergency powers need to be strictly limited to emergencies. There is a time and place when they are needed and they do indeed need to be closely monitored. Hurricane Irene was one such emergency and here in Strafford as in much of Vermont, normal rules of operation and requirements for things like posting and warning Selectboard meetings were suspended while this disaster was being dealt with. As soon as the emergency was over, everything went back to normal.

            The current pandemic, is again such an emergency. Anyone who has looked at human history knows how devastating pandemics have been particularly when a new virus or disease is introduced to a population. One needs look no further than how it is estimated around 90% of the Native American population was wiped out by epidemics of smallpox and other diseases introduced by Europeans. Pandemics are not a thing to be taken lightly.

            There is no evidence that Governor Scott is attempting to use his emergency powers for anything beyond battling this highly contagious virus. And in fact his main tool has been persuasion rather than enforcement. What he can and how he wants to spend funds is in fact limited by the usual need for legislative approval.

            There is no doubt that Governor Scott will gladly lift this emergency as soon as he is provided the medical evidence that it is safe to do so. That said, I appreciate the wary eye kept on this as history has indeed shown the desire to gain or keep power often leads to the demise of a republic.

          • John,

            I hardly think Covid-19 even qualifies as a deadly pandemic on a par with smallpox or even a bad flu. In 1918, everyone knew someone who died of flu. I don’t know one single person, not a relative and not a friend and not a neighbor, who has died of Covid-19. Yes, it’s serious, but it hardly justifies shutting down the economy, and we knew that back in March, 2020. Many reputable physicians protested the measures that Dr. Fauci and his gang were recommending, but these voices of reason, who gave us solid facts about the age stratification of serious Covid-19 and who urged a reasonable policy of protecting the vulnerable while avoiding damage to the much, much greater percentage of the population that wasn’t at risk of serious Covid, were censored. Bizarrely, HCQ, a cheap drug used safely for decades and widely used to prevent serious Covid, was also censored, and if you think that word is too strong then look at the measures that several states, including New York, took to prevent its use. Now ivermectin is being censored despite overwhelmingly good evidence for its safety and efficacy.

            Our policy toward Covid-19 has been highly irrational and make no mistake, this was the policy not of Trump but of Fauci and friends, including the CDC. All of the actions– payments for Covid patients, payments for ventilator use, changing the way deaths were counted, encouraging doctors to list Covid as cause of death, refusing to allow life-saving drugs, etc.–point to suspicions that the goal wasn’t to contain Covid-19, the goal was to contain the people by herding them with fear. All of this points to the suspicion that the one door left open for the entrance of tyranny that could possibly be used by bad actors seeking to destroy our constitutional republic– the emergency power brought on by (supposed) medical necessity– is indeed being used by perverse actors for just that reason.

            There’s very real danger in allowing virtually unlimited emergency powers in ill-defined emergencies. This danger is greater than the danger of Covid-19. I’m not afraid of Covid-19 at all: if I die from it, so be it. I’m very afraid of the country we’re leaving to our children if we allow tyranny in through the back door. Look how this thing just creeps in: I think most of us would’ve been appalled if, back in February, 2020, we could have seen the huge destruction to livelihoods and liberties that occurred from “a few weeks to flatten the curve.”
            It never had to be that way.

      • Hope lambchops doesn’t mind crosspost lol
        March 7, 2021 at 11:03 am

        Ye shall know them by their WoT.

        “A particular case is the concern troll, a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. ”


        • You know, people here let you post without harassment. How about extending that same courtesy to others? If you disagree with an author’s arguments, state why clearly and distinctly instead of attacking character and motive.

        • Busted lol. Newsflash: Tacit admission is admission. Internet pestilence, trollery and sockpuppetry has long history of exposure – if one does not wish to be shown thusly suggest not channeling aforementioned?

          • Jim
            March 4, 2021 at 8:40 am
            “…Stardust…Even if what you say is true– and it isn’t– it simply makes no difference to what’s printed on the page. Take it for what it is….”

            Channeled OJ”if I did it” Simpson lol

          • Stardust, I think my real “crime” is that I once dared to speak up against you and defend John’s right to have an opinion.

            Everything I say is against Fauci, against medical tyranny, against tyranny of all sorts. I’m probably one of the more radical ones here in that I insist that the state should never have emergency powers over individuals in medical matters, ever. I’ve explained why. I say that allowing free choice is the lesser of two evils, but you, not being subtle enough to grasp my argument, thereby suppose that what I meant was that free choice is an evil. It’s an argument, stardust, positing choices, and it’s directed at those who suppose that allowing medical choice is a wrong or an “evil.” There is NOTHING I’ve said that supports BLM, or socialism, or Democrats, or the Governor (except to say that he’s trying to do the right thing– are you going to crucify me for that?) I’ve written nothing against the conservative stance. Nothing.

            Apparently, arguing against you puts me in the enemy camp and I must be doing something nefarious despite my words, which fully support individual freedom and are consistently against tyranny.

            Go against stardust and she’ll harass you no end. I have no idea what’ll convince you that I’m a sincere, honest individual. Probably nothing, because if I counter what stardust says, in her mind I must be the Deceiver himself.

            That’s all I’ll have to say about this nonsense. And no, for the umpteenth time, I am not John.

          • Again – The lady doth protest too much, much? lol 😀
            “A particular case is the concern troll, a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the sockpuppet claims to hold.”

            Behavior is legendary in the internet comment platform world. Duplicate posting is prima facie – presents as conjoined siamese twins – Wall of Text back to back = politely arguing with each other derailing entire threads is pretty obvious John. The deep dishonesty you have routinely been called out for by numerous commenters continues apace Mr Freitag.

          • I like to reason things out. It takes time and words. John does the same thing, and I admire him for that. The similarity ends there.

            What I despise are hit-and-run, wild accusations based entirely on speculation and your own special “insight.”

            Don’t like “WoT”? Don’t read it!

  6. I apologize for getting on the ivermectin soapbox again but yet another expert has determined that it works exceedingly well and it’s safe. Dr. Tess Lawrie has reviewed all the evidence and in January her group submitted the findings to British medical authorities and to the FDA. Yet the FDA and CDC and Dr. Fauci (and the British authorities) are sitting on this.

    It’s time for Dr. Levine and Governor Scott to recognize that whatever Dr. Fauci is doing and whatever the FDA and CDC are doing, it’s not about getting a remarkable antiviral drug out to the good people of our country so that we can get on with our lives.

    We did warp speed on vaccines because we wanted to save lives and get back to normal. Why are we slow-walking and obstructing a clear pathway to more saved lives and an even quicker path back to normal?

    Is this all about the money? If people know there’s a cheap, non-patented antiviral out there, will that take away from vaccine sales?

  7. As sure as there are sunspots, warming and cooling cycles there always will be pandemics of some sort and mutilations. I don’t think Scotty has the mental capacity to handle it—resign. For reference from the Smithsonian::

    Why This Pandemic Won’t Be the Last

    Since the beginning of time, this has always happened. When there is heavy concentrations of people in a given rather confined area, such viruses and diseases can multiply in a logarithmic scale fashion. It’s similar to population disasters, if no people, no disasters. Hurricanes, tornadoes, sunspot cycles experienced. To simplify, if a tree falls in the woods, is there sound? No people, no sound. AND Gov Scott could take hard earned vacations and not have to dictate Hitler type policies.


  8. Expect that whatever NY and Mass do, Scott will follow. His personal fears continue to rule his thinking and policies. He must not get out much to see the constant flow of out-of- state traffic on Vermont highways. Now that the left has successfully used a virus to control the populations and economies of the western world, would you really expect them to stop?
    It is interesting to note, that a study released March 5 2021- by the CDC, while touting mask efficacy shows only a half percent decrease in infection rates, masked or not.
    Read carefully, as the wording has been convoluted for the desired outcome.

  9. Scotty Watty isn’t the Governor.. The socialist’s legislators are. They tell him to jump and he asks how high. they tell him to sh$t and he asks what color. He doesn’t think for himself, the legislators do the thinking for him… They tell him “we need more money” and control and he extends the lockdown on the state.

    Scotty might be a bit scared as he’s watching NY Governor really close to see what happens to his buddy.. Bet Sanders is too, seeing he’s best buds with Cuomo and de Blasio, He’s had both over to his summer home quite a bit.

    Have you notice Scotty hasn’t said a word about Cuomo problems, Sexual harassment charges, and the death of all the nursing home patients..Nor has Sanders. Socialist democrats all stick together…

    Scotty and his bosses in the legislation will keep this lockdown till there will not be a small business owner left except for their friends or their own small business. Like Zuckerman pot business. They don’t care about Vermonters. just their pet projects and bank accounts.. and that’s the TRUTH,!!!!

    • Interesting, when you look into deblasio and his past, it’s no wonder they are great buddies. Interesting how certain people are very, very quiet about nursing homes, the massive deaths and the coverup. They are setting it all up so he “resigns” over some stupid comments, this will play out in the propaganda press as front page item distracting from all the deaths caused by certain leadership.

      The truth is working its way to the top. Some people are not going to fair well when it comes out.

      Quick, quick, we need to again change all voting mechanisms in our country, immediately, how convenient,,,,

  10. Trump is gone, the Covid 19 hysteria is coming to an end. Without either, Phil Scott will have nothing to distract Vermonters from his own failings. The scrutiny on his governorship is long overdue.

  11. It’s very simple. As soon as Vermont opens up the state, the COVID relief money will dry up… and currently those relief monies (which are still coming in) are the only thing that keeps the state budget afloat. After that, it’ll be on to an expansive 3.6% sales tax on all goods, including food, home heating oil/gas, child care, and college tuition. The legislature will milk COVID for all it’s worth; that’s why they’re not opening back up.

  12. How many businesses must you force to close and how many people have to lose their jobs so you and your socialist friends in Montpelier can get off on your power trip? Comrade Scott Tear down these china virus restrictions! Don’t wait for the okay from dementia joe in DC.

  13. From the article,

    Vermont’s governor also said coronavirus vaccine shots may not be forced on Americans legally because they were rapidly developed as an emergency measure.

    So does this mean we don’t have control of what goes into our bodies in non-emergencies? So who’s slave are we? Who owns us? The World Health Organization? (Couldn’t help myself).. The United Nations? Gates, Fauci, the New World Order pimps?

    Interesting times, that’s for sure.

    • Just another petty lying tyrant who’s dictates ignored and to be heaped on the pile of cast out tyrants of history.

  14. well now that we know mask are useless, and death rate for Covid-19 is less than 3% and the vaccines do not work like vaccines(ie you can still get it and give it) what is the point?

  15. It shouldn’t be up to the governor to keep people safe. That power should be stripped from him. Giving the governor that power implies that people are too stupid to keep themselves safe and to weigh risks. It’s imposing the dictum “stay safe” and throwing the dictum “stay free” in the garbage can, and it’s determining for us that we must value safety more than we value freedom.

    Many of us don’t value safety more than we value freedom. Enough of this petty tyranny, enough of this nanny state, and enough of the destruction of livelihoods and dignity through these insane mandates.

    Die on our feet or live on our knees? The Governor has decided that we must live on our knees, and a lot of people are tired of it. If those who worship Dr. Fauci want to wear masks or full body suits, they’re welcome to do so: no one will stop them if they’re so afraid. Leave the rest of us alone.

    Right: “we’re in the last stages of this war.” Just like “a few weeks to flatten the curve.” Just stop.

    • Fauci’s hard earned salary in government is $450K a year, highest paid “US employee”:. Not bad for screwing up info about the virus, wear masks or not and getting a few TV appearances. He’s a quack and quacks more than a duck. He’s seen in pics with George Soros, David Rockefeller, gov people and the liberal media. Notice he easily stayed aboard with either Trump or Biden and hobnobbed with the Kenyon fellow. Talk about universality.

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