Scott on not enforcing social distancing at protests: ‘How we have handled this has led to more safety’

Guy Page

Protesters at the Vermont State House hold Ben & Jerry’s signs that read “We must dismantle white supremacy!” and “Black Lives Matter.”


By Guy Page

At his press conference Monday, Gov. Phil Scott spoke highly of the nonviolent police brutality protests conducted statewide, at which most people wore masks. He lauded the St. Johnsbury police officer and the young Lyndonville woman who, involved in a Black Lives Matter scuffle last week, have since met and resolved their differences.

Scott has taken heat on social media for encouraging but not requiring police brutality protesters to follow pandemic measures for socially distancing. Said one Chittenden County reader of this post on the State House lawn rally: “Looking at the number of people in that group who are not social distancing, please tell me again why our children are banned from playgrounds and why we can’t have our restaurants and churches open to full capacity? The hypocrisy in Montpelier is staggering.” A Barre woman added, “Hmmmm … and why is it ok to gather for this but not Independence Day!?”

Over the weekend, VTDigger reported that two of Vermont’s non-nursing home Covid-19 fatalities were Cambridge men who sat near each other at the March 10 UVM men’s basketball game in a crowded Patrick Gym. One of these men was former Rep. Bernie Juskiewicz. The possibility that either or both men contracted the virus at the game seems to highlight the need for strict, consistent public health measures at large gatherings.

Vermont Daily asked Gov. Scott:

Governor, some people who were already skeptical about the need for continued social distancing now say that since you’ve made an exception for the protesters, they plan to gather for large group events, irrespective of crowd size and reason for gathering. Others are willing to continue to follow the rules but are angry that these mass gatherings may actually extend the State of Emergency. What do you say to encourage them to stay the course when others can disobey the rules and risk the health of others without consequences?

Gov. Scott replied:

I’ve been very proud of what happened over the weekend. We want to make sure people are safe. We hope there is not an outbreak because of that. I believe that how we have handled this has led to more safety, there hasn’t been as much violence of what we have seen throughout the country.

He was then asked by Vermont Daily why protesters could not be required to socially distance and wear masks.

Guy Page

Protesters in Montpelier hold sign questioning if police are needed.

“We have an opportunity to do something better for society,” Scott said. “The alternative is to do what? Do we do mass arrests? [Require protesters to] to disperse? What we saw in Washington is an affront to what we stand for. That’s not the best way to handle things. We’re doing the best we can with the information we have in hand. We have to do two things at once. Change is needed. I believe that having these protests, to make sure their voices are heard, takes priority over that.”

Scott also said today that he has no immediate plans to terminate the state of emergency, although more and more restrictions are being removed. Gyms and restaurants are both opened for indoor use, with restrictions. Today he announced that non-contact sports competition (including soccer and baseball) may proceed, provided the number of competitors and spectators at any single event do not exceed 25 each. College and professional sports games are still prohibited.

Election update: Rodgers to run as independent, pans Global Warming Solutions Act

Sen. John Rodgers (D-Essex/Orleans) missed the May 28 filing deadline for the primary, but hopes to mount a write-in campaign for the primary and in any event will run as an independent in the November general election, he said in a reply to a Vermont Daily email: “I do intend to run as an independent as well as a write in campaign for the primary,” he said.

Rodgers also said he doesn’t think H.688, the Global Warming Solutions Act, should be voted on over Zoom.

“I do not believe there has been a vote on that bill,” Rodgers said. “I have expressed to the committee that I do not believe any of these major pieces of legislation should be moving forward under a Zoom format where the public does not feel it can adequately participate. I will not be voting in favor of any of these major pieces of legislation because of that.”

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Guy Page

9 thoughts on “Scott on not enforcing social distancing at protests: ‘How we have handled this has led to more safety’

  1. Anyone who believes that social distancing can be expected at all these protest rallies must believe in the tooth fairy. Just one look at the mobs packed shoulder to shoulder should be ample evidence that enforcing the social distancing directive is impossible.

  2. Notice that “Mike’s” comments are conspicuously absent when it’s about Phil Scott’s malfeasance.

  3. I went to a protest rally at a restaurant and a dinner party broke out. Want a Free ‘Get Out of Phil Scott’s Jail’ card? Call your event a protest.

  4. Chairman Phil is keeping ‘state of emergency’ order in place as fig leaf for what he’s done to our state, businesses, schools which took a wrecking ball to economy w/some businesses never reopening and all Vermonters as all wiil pay in one way or another for his epic fail.

    Slow-walking the ‘recovery’ lol using the ‘orders’ to legitimize this madness and continue his fantasy world of smoke and mirrors snowjob to avoid debating John Klar as he’d have to wear Depends to the debate. Clearly terrified of Mr. Klar who would clean his clock with those stubborn things called facts and suspect Benedict Scott knows it’s game over.

  5. Vermont it seems it has a plethora of Idiots if you have watched or listened to
    the protestor rhetoric, the majority don’t have a clue when they make statements
    to ” defund the police “, yup Idiots !!

    The death ” Murder” of George Floyd is despicable and this officer deserves
    everything he gets from the justice system, sure there are bad apples within the
    police departments and they need to be weeded out, and we have bad apples
    with the ” citizenry ” just look at the thugs within most of these protest, luckily
    Vermont hasn’t seen this destruction, but it will ” No Respect ” and no back-
    bone from the Golden Dome ……. pretty pathetic.

    liberals in charge and no police………….hope you’re ready, I am !!

  6. well, it just gets more and more irrational doesn’t it

    Citizen health and well being play second fiddle to political correctness and re-election needs

    people lost there jobs, their businesses and in some cases their lives to this insanity but we can give rights to those that we fear will upset the applecart or call us racists as we try to deal with a so called pandemic.

    If we ever have a real one we have so learned nothing to deal with it, and have set so many horrible precedents as far as who can ignore things and who can’t. We will all pay for the fact that the people we elected have no clue and apparently by electing them we admit we have no clue either.

  7. It’s a super spreader event governor, the jig is up. It’s all a hoax. This event proves it.

    You have no authority to contain us any longer, we are a free people, we played your game. It’s over, you lost. Time to move on.

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