Scott extends ‘stay home’ orders to May 15, will soon begin opening business sectors ‘on a weekly basis’

Michael Bielawski/TNR

IN A MASK: Gov. Phil Scott was in Montpelier today for another coronavirus status update. He can now regularly be seen wearing a face mask.

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott on Friday extended the state of emergency and all current coronavirus mitigation orders for Vermont until May 15, but said he will soon begin opening certain business sectors on a weekly basis to get people back to work.

Taking questions from reporters during his 11 a.m. press conference, Scott offered a general summary of his plan to open non-essential businesses before May 15, saying it will be “a phased-in approach” in the weeks ahead.

“Yes, I do believe there’s an opportunity to do that,” he said. “We’ll be announcing some of those on a weekly basis as we receive the information, if we continue to move in a positive direction as we’re doing right now. We will begin opening that up to certain sectors.”

Scott said while he wasn’t ready to announce openings at the Friday briefing, it is his administration’s intention to get people back to work as the data about the containment of the virus continues along its improved course.

“If we can continue to see and have confidence that it’s leveled out, plateaued, and then starts declining, that’s when we start opening the spigot, as I said, a quarter turn at a time,” he said.

The Republican governor has been under pressure to address the state’s economy. The number of Vermonters now out of work due to state-mandated restrictions has spiked to more than 70,000 over a three-week period. According to Department of Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington, department staff are receiving between 1,500 and 3,000 jobless claims per day. A secondary call center is being set up and staffed with as many as 30 people to respond to the flood of new unemployment insurance claims. To date, the department has issued 30,000 benefit payments in the amount of $23.3 million.

New modeling numbers even better than Vermont’s original ‘best-case’ estimates

Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak, who also spoke at the media briefing, emphasized that newly released modeling for the progression of coronavirus cases and deaths looks much better than originally anticipated. As of Friday, the number of COVID-19 related deaths reached 24; the state forecasts between 44 and 100 deaths will occur from the pandemic.

“We continue to follow a positive trend that is below both our worst and even our best-case scenarios as of late March,” Peiciak said. “The data now more clearly points to the fact that the sacrifices Vermonters are making and continue to make are positively impacting our COVID-19 experience.”

He added, however, that thousands of Vermonters will likely catch the virus over the next six weeks.

“Our recent forecast indicates we are trending toward a milder experience during April than was initially anticipated with the new confirmed cases still expected to peak over the next two to four weeks,” he said. “I must make clear, however, that although we are anticipating a milder experience in April, our current forecasts still indicate that more than 1,000 to 5,000 Vermonters will be diagnosed with COVID-19 by the end of May, with hundreds requiring hospital care.”

The modeling includes other positive news. The state forecasts a need for between 90 and 233 beds, which is safely below the current capacity of 420 beds. Intensive care unit beds are predicted to peak at between 34 and 96, well within the surge capacity range of 117. The projected need for between 19 and 52 ventilators is also within capacity.

What’s included in state of emergency extension

While the extension announced Friday continues the status quo of recent mitigation measures, several changes have been made. The House and Senate Transportation Committees have asked that the Department of Motor Vehicles extend the deadline for motor vehicle inspections due in April for up to 60 days. Also, lodging operators can begin immediately to accept reservations for guests and events that occur on June 15 or later.

State agencies are allowed to provide non-congregate housing to isolate first responders including healthcare workers.

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has been directed to update the guidance policies for real estate sales, including sales that are done directly by the property owner. The ACCD also will clarify that financial, legal, municipalities, and other professional services are all allowed to help Vermonters to collect state and federal financial aid.

Lastly, it clarifies that there be protections for healthcare facilities, workers, and volunteers as granted under 20 V.S.A. § 20 when they are working on COVID-19 related services.

No targeted social distancing measures

Asked by True North if low death and hospitalization rates might allow a targeted approach of mandating social distancing for vulnerable populations while allowing the rest of Vermonters to get back to work, both Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine said it’s not being considered.

“This is transmitted whether you’re 15 or 75, it doesn’t matter your age,” Scott said. “It’s just that you’re more vulnerable with chronic conditions and having an adverse effect as a result of contracting coronavirus. So, all of us have a role to play in this — all age groups. To concentrate on one sector [of the population] just wouldn’t be beneficial.”

Levine echoed that sentiment.

“Though we’ve targeted a certain group as being the most vulnerable, if you have widespread disease in the population, people who don’t fall in the older, chronically ill vulnerable group will get very ill, just statistically speaking. So the strategy is population-wide. It can’t really be targeted in an effective way.”

Levine said earlier in the meeting that his strategy is to get the population into a deceleration phase, or an “era of suppression” of the virus. During suppression, there will be few actively infected people in the community, allowing for “a strategy of containment,” in which health professionals isolate and quarantine infected persons as needed.

He said there will likely be another occurrence of the virus, but it should not be of a large magnitude. Levine also suggested that warm weather during summer may have a helpful impact, and noted that that goal of the “stay home, stay safe” order has been primarily to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

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

33 thoughts on “Scott extends ‘stay home’ orders to May 15, will soon begin opening business sectors ‘on a weekly basis’

  1. Another good site about combating the virus and from an independent Lab. Answers

    They tested various virus subjects and give answers. They don’t require membership unless you want more info. The Q & A section is interesting. These are facts.

    • Oh what a wonderful site. Below was another interview with a Epidemiologist from the United States.

      If we taught science in our schools, we wouldn’t be so afraid.
      If we taught critical thinking, it we learned from the foundational documents our country was formed upon…..we’d immediately recognize propaganda and lies.

      I bet this guy is absolutely correct. Absolutely. Our leaders should be following scientists who are paid by the WHO, Bill Gates and George Soros, they may have a different interest than our own.

      Thank you so much for this link, the guy has some great video’s on his site!

      • Thanks for link Neil…interestingly what Dr says is simply the way all corona viruses and ‘treatments’ work – as well as this virus itself which include other flues and the common cold.

        Reality is there is no prevention outside of a bolstered immune system, nutrients and common sense measures such as handwashing and good hygeine, w/exception of Hydroxychlorquine which serves as a preventive and a cure – also and possibly quinine water.

        Just as there is no vaccine for the cold bc of its rapidly changing adaptability, or flu, is the same – vaccine claims 47% effectiveness which is fanciful imho. And does not work in majority of population or elderly *at all* so doing more harm than good.

    • See it’s the collective genius of mankind working together in freedom that changes the world for a positive life. Our country was very well read in years past, very well read, you could find people living in log cabins of the wilderness that had read major works that were the foundation of Western Civilization, the basis upon which novel inventions solved the worlds problems, improved the environment and humanity in general.

      You will NOT find this in any oligarchy, the most common form of government in the world. It is why they can’t replicate what makes America special.

      Unfortunately we no longer operate with what our country was founded upon. There are people who consciously or without knowledge repeat what they are told thinking it’s the truth and knowledge.

      Smart phones and stupidity will be the fall of America is we aren’t careful. The smart phone is the most powerful weapon a propagandist could ever, ever, ever wish for. I was very skeptical in the beginning….as they followed the same propagandist format they have used to divide our country with year after year.

      After watching the video below/above….I think you’ll be more at ease, it matches patterns, it really is science. It would be interesting to hear the two doctors by the presidents side debate this man. I’d put my money on this gentleman, any day, any time. They have yet to make any claim upon why this is any different to any degree.

  2. A web site and a lot of info about protection from the virus. There are many links within for verification and well known institutions… The material has a long history, why not considered now?” Something to consider and perhaps others have heard about it. Your choice believe or not.
    Nothing ventured, nothing gained and is a inexpensive means.

    Copper Destroys Viruses and Bacteria. Why Isn’t It Everywhere?

  3. Phil Scott is between a rock and a hard place. He will be villified no matter what he does. If he lifts orders, morte people may get it. If he extends close orders, economy dies and people suffer. He’s in an impossible, no win situation…no matter what he does.

    Neil, above, nailed a biggie: “For digger to put up that cartoon is not only irresponsible, unhelpful, taking away people’s hope, bad propaganda against the president, it’s just plain mean.” Many of you see me there. I post because it is like shooting fish in a barrel, it is so easy to destroy their total biased writing. ALL the senior ones there are just washed up, old school liberals, from other failed media outets. They are all too old to be hired by anyone else. …so they congregate at Digger, NON PROFIT and get rich Liberals & Progressives to fund them!! The rest of the writers are “wet behind the ears”, rank biased beginners…. and either indoctrinated by the colleges they recently graduated from…or they have a couple years “Cub Reporter” indoctrination at other very Liberal & Progressive media outlets. The real truth is, VT Digger is really a P.A.C…Politcal Action Committee. it is not a ‘non profit”. VT Digger often censors me. They censor others here. The Gov’t should investigate them for tax fraud, and it would be a FEDERAL case because they cross state lines for funding & donations… and readership.. It would be Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud and Tax fraud. The biggest clue as to WHAT they REALLY are is what Neil writes…VT Digger has, since they started, published the “Daily Republican Hate – By Danziger”…No WAY would Vt Digger allow ANY cartoons destroying Biden, clinton, pelosi, Schumer etc….But it is GOOD that they keep Danziger going…because that alone is the best piece of evidence against them if they ever get investigated by the Feds for tax fraud. THEY ARE A “PAC”, they are not a legitimate, (non biased), non profit!…they are just tax evaders, in my opinion! FYI? Take a screen shot pic of your posts there as you submit. I have started to now. So if they censor and refuse to post it, I have a pic of my post saved. So if they ever do get Federally investigated for tax fraud, I will have back up & proof of their purposeful censorhip….of all conservatives. I think they lose, if they ever get investigated thouroughly! and that also opens up the uber Liberal and Progressive :Foundations” that fund Digger! I woudl LOVE TO SEE teh emails of what teh Foundations tell Digger what to write…if Digger wants money from them! Reeks of a “pay to play”. If Digger wants their money, they have to write and cover what the rich donors want…just my guess!!

    • The censorship is so huge people would not believe. A PAC is putting things mildly, they are an operative of the DNC at best.
      When I wrote early about how the fix was in for Bernie, early in his first run, as everyone but our lt gov supported Hillary, they refused to print the commentary.

      They refused to print any comment with our political party’s name in it! I said I can talk about the dems, the repubs, the libertarians but I can’t even mention the name of our political party? Nope.

      They “moderate” all the comments, they stopped letting people discuss topics among each other as the truth was coming out. They shortened the commentary such that informative interesting comments like Jims below would never see the light of day.

      They are definitely not ” in pursuit of the truth”, yet they get awards!

    • I have saved most of my comments to digger also. I have presented factual information that disproves what liberal commenters have said but mine make it in occasionally. I have stopped commenting there because I had the nerve to email them a few times to complain. They should be investigated. The Danziger spot is a shot at liberal comedy, trouble is liberals have a limited sense of humor but enormous egos. You can always tell when you’ve won a debate with a liberal. That’s when they call you a name or try to insult you!

      • lol……they don’t fair well in debates do they? Too funny.

        When you really start asking questions things fall apart. They are so “concerned about the elderly” for example, but do you hear anything about the massive changes they’re doing to save lives in nursing homes?


        What you read about in digger is how they are all incompliance with the rules and regulations. Sorry to break it to you folks, they plan is killing Gram. They aren’t concerned at all, other wise they’d be working on a better plan.

        Same for affordable housing, good jobs, good schools, better use of tax money, women earning same money for same job, a more affordable Vermont, they could care less.

        Bernie said in his video, with more organizing and more fighting we’ll build a better country. How is tearing down our republic and fighting going to lead to peace and prosperity? No the division I’d of their design and wish, it keeps them rich and powerful, heir true aim and goal.

        • Vt Digger Vermont’s Left Rag Of Record

          The only reason I read them is to keep track of what Vermont’s left are sniveling about day to day, they are the furthest thing from a free press there is in Vermont.

  4. This is amuch better article than any other one done by other publications. Keep up the great questioning and reporting.

    It’s interesting they aren’t considering protecting the elderly more than they are. The plan they are currently using is not working for them, and that what 50% of our deaths?

    Any stock pile of medicine? or are the following the cartoons on tv digger where they make fun of the hydroxichloroquin/atrytromycin/zinc medication despite 67% of doctors saying they woul prescribe it to family?

    For digger to put up that cartoon is not only irresponsible, unhelpful, taking away people’s hope, bad propaganda against the president, it’s just plain mean. This cartoon exposes their heart not only toward our president but the people of Vermont. Very, very sad.

    • The VTDigger cartoon is disgusting. All those supposed roadblocks Trump is driving through– pharmacology, medical practice, science, intelligence, research, logic– are utter nonsense because we know that hydroxychloroquine (chloroquine) is an ionophore for zinc and zinc works to kill COVID in vitro, and the only real question now is if it works in vivo as well. So far as medical practice goes, doctors and hospitals have been ordering this up, so it seems that some are actually practicing it. Dr. Zelenko has had great success with this, and Vermont might want to try his protocol and see if it works– or would we prefer to let people get sick and die? Dr. Marik has used this and discovered that the respiratory distress caused by COVID isn’t typical ARDS and therefore mechanical ventilation should be avoided if at all possible.

      Science? You want science?

      VTDigger might want to read what Dr. Zelenko sent to Trump, in the hopes of halting deaths from COVID. Maybe the good Dr. Fauci has something else in mind besides getting this virus behind us. And maybe VTDigger and Danziger should get over their unhealthy fixation on Trump as the source of all evil.

    • The Danziger/VTD cartoon is indicative of the ill-fated logic in most of their positions. I have an 80 yr. old friend in NYC with CV exposure currently taking hydroxichloroquin/atrytromycin/zinc medication – as prescribed by her doctor. Not only should Danziger and VTD be ashamed of this cartoon, if someone chooses not to take this medication because of social shaming, and suffers poorly as a result, Danziger and VTD should accept at least some of the responsibility.

      Perhaps now, people will understand that Danziger’s and VTD’s progressive dribble, relating to their other positions (e.g. Socialism and monopolized State Education and Healthcare), is likely to be detrimental to their personal well-being too – because, clearly, Danziger and VTD are the paid mouthpieces of the Progressive’s propagandized tyranny of political power at all costs.

      Caveat emptor.

    • Interesting note per recklessly irresponsible propagandized ‘cartoon’…at top says “Who’s Drivin’?” w/Trump behind wheel of delivery truck…at the very bottom – “DANZIGER The Rutland Herald Washington Post Writers Group” – Freudian reveal of the true ‘driver'(s) – courtesy of divine forces…as the drivers kick selves in a*s and whilst attempting to smack down the sh** in their eye – Donald Trump and We The People

  5. Not sure I understand. If businesses are allowed to open even on a controlled basis and thecsttay at home isxextended to May 15, who can patronize these businesses?

    • Anybody can patronize them Mike. We’re not under martial law and we still have Constitutional rights. We don’t fear our government – but they should damned well fear us. You can hide in your home if you choose, but no force in this State can make the rest of us do the same.

  6. Trout season opens April 11
    This is the number one question the department has been getting. Everyone is worried that their favorite pastime is off limits right now. Fishing season is not canceled.

    So, its okay to go fishing? Clearly, that’s because The State doesn’t want to lose its fishing license revenues. How about I carry a fishing rod in my golf bag and make a few golf shots between casts.

  7. A virus that leaves the majority of people with little or no symptoms, that appears to be treatable in the early stages with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc sulfate, that rarely affects children and that leaves healthy people under 60 with generally mild symptoms, is simply not worth locking down the economy and destroying livelihoods and the ability to gather in large groups, freely, for years to come. It’s simply not worth the panic that those at the very top in our country seem to be promoting, as we hear stories of tremendous deaths ahead of us that are continually revised downward. We hear that bodies in Sweden are being stored in ice rinks: alarming news!! Yet, just as in NYC, if we pay attention we also learn that many cemeteries are closed or have limited manpower, and this is the real reason for the back-up in Sweden: “Long weekends such as the Easter Holidays can cause a backlog but this has been exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic and ensuing deaths and backlog at cemeteries, many of which are closed as a precautionary measure.”

    We can spin the news to panic or we can spin the news to calm. We are collectively spinning the news to panic; Vermont is simply lost in the vortex.

    Meanwhile, treatment protocols for COVID that seem to work are being ignored or downplayed by those at the very top. Dr. Zelenko treated patients early with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc sulfate, and there were no deaths and no hospitalizations after treatment.

    Dr. Marik has gathered together data from China and elsewhere and has discovered that the respiratory distress (ARDS) induced by COVID is of an unusual nature and that mechanical ventilation might exacerbate the condition, not help. Does Dr. Fauci care? Is he too busy giving interviews to pay attention?

    Dr. David Katz has suggested a reasonable approach of targeted isolation. Yes, more people will get the virus if we do this, but those people that we let back into the work force are those who will have either mild symptoms or no symptoms, and yes, a few might die. But, maybe we should treat them with the Zelenko protocol before they do? Those who catch the virus develop immunity; that’s what we want, or else we’ll be running for fear of this virus for many years. Maybe that’s what some people prefer?

    The real question is, why are we bungling around like the keystone cops? Test kits? The richest and most capable country on earth can’t seem to muster the will and energy to get test kits out yesterday? If you didn’t know better, you’d think that the whole point was to create fear and panic and lockdown.

    • Interesting stuff Jim, thanks for sharing! I agree that a phased opening is not only sensible, it’s absolutely needed.

    • All true – value of allowing a reopening of our world is that ppl who get sick can be prescribed the Dr. Zelenko regimen and then become immune. Or opt for just the HCQ as preventive. For the sacrifice of two weeks of blessed ‘self quarantine’? Ppl will be standing in line to get it…in actuality a coronvacation imho

  8. Has anyone received any financial assistance yet ??? I assume the Governor feels that
    another five weeks isn’t a big deal !!

    There is no reason why construction jobs can’t begin, they already wear safety gear
    so wearing a mask shouldn’t be a big deal and most are working more than six-feet
    apart………….other outside work could also be acceptable with personal separation
    and common sense, something lacking under the Golden Dome

    • I agree, there are a lot of jobs that could have remeianed open which don’t endanger anyone. The financial hit for this total shutdown will be beyond belief for a state that is financially challenged in the first place.

      • I agree Jim, hopefully people can finally vote with their heads and their wallets and we can get some solid turnover down in Montpelier. State govt needs to get out of the way and let business thrive, now more than ever.

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