By Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott suspended the Vermont Covid-19 ‘travel map’ today. The State of Vermont has implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any non-essential returning or traveling to Vermont.
Any Vermonter who travels out-of-state on non-essential business must quarantine for 14 days upon return. All visitors to Vermont on non-essential business must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
The Health Dept. “dashboard” shows 12 people hospitalized for Covid-19, four in the ICU. The first death since July occurred several days ago.
Until it disappeared from the Health Dept. website today, the travel map showed Vermonters where they could, and couldn’t, travel out-of-state without needing to quarantine upon return. But the “third wave” of Covid regionally and nationwide has made virtually every regional county unsafe for travel.
The no-exceptions travel policy is the latest response by the Scott administration to keep the rising third wave of Covid-19 out of Vermont as much as possible. It follows Friday’s “strong recommendation” to limit indoor private gatherings to 10 or fewer people.
Today’s press conference press kit contained a graphic (left) showing the dramatic rise in Covid cases in Canada after its Oct. 12 Thanksgiving.
The decision to not enforce (for now) limits on private gatherings is practical: it’s “very difficult to do,” Scott said. “That’s why we’re trying to make our case” for voluntary gatherings of 10 or fewer people. “People are getting more lax.”
The next step, if needed, would likely restrict the size of public, not private, gatherings, Scott said. State officials are collecting information on public behavior and transmission in Vermont restaurants, officials said.
“Simply refusing to do your part is dangerous for the rest of us,” Scott said. “I’m asking you to think about what you can do to stop the growing waves of infractions. Please do your part. I know it’s a choice. I’m asking you to make the right choice for the right reasons.”
“We are truly on a threshold, and the decisions we make will dictate our future…and I don’t mean our longterm future, I mean our immediate future,” Health Commissioner Mark Levine said. “Surrounded by a sea of red, I’m confident Vermonters can redouble their efforts.”
VPR reporter Peter Hirschfeld asked Scott what impact the travel ban would have on transmission. “We certainly hope it’s reduced,” Scott said. The state will ramp up messaging on border highways.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.