By Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott wants the Legislature to allow mail-in voting for Town Meeting, he said at his press conference Friday.
In response to a question posed by VT Digger’s Anne Wallace Allen about adopting mail-in balloting going forward, Gov. Scott answered: “I believe this crisis is going to be with us for the next 3-4 months … we should prepare for some sort of mail-in ballot procedure for Town Meeting. We’ve had very low voter turnout for Town Meeting, this could be a way to bolster that.”
The Legislature didn’t like the idea when he presented it this year, Scott said.
Allen pressed for an answer of universal balloting post-Covid. “If we can move forward and try it on Town Meeting day, that would tell us a lot whether we could pursue this further,” Scott said. “But so far so good.”
Covid curfews are up to municipalities – In response to 11 ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks, Gov. Scott would strongly prefer to avoid curfews on public gatherings, in contrast to a statewide 9:30 pm curfew and size limits imposed Monday by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
At the beginning of the press conference, Gov. Scott said his administration later Friday would issue “recommendations” about crowd size limits at social gatherings. “We’re seeing cases turn into clusters at social gatherings,” Scott said. The Central Vermont hockey outbreak took place in social events, not on the ice, he said. “These are not yet being issued as mandates. “
Vermont Daily asked Gov. Scott: “Gov. Baker in Massachusetts Monday restricted home social gatherings to 10 and required a 9:30 pm curfew on public gatherings which some bar-restaurant people worry is the deathknell of their industry. If you make these recommendations mandates, and would it include a curfew and police power to levy fines, as Gov. Baker has done?”
His administration allows municipalities to enforce curfews, Scott said. Burlington imposed but then cancelled its curfew. “They can utilize this tool if they think it’s necessary. I’d rather not mandate this, it’s an advisory at this point.”
At present, there are four Vermonters hospitalized, three in intensive care units. No one has died of Covid-19 since July. Levine noted that nationally “we’re in a new stage of the pandemic,” with lockdowns occurring in Europe and, in the USA this week, two consecutive days of positive test cases over 100,000.
Hospital retrieves some patient schedules lost in cyberattack – UVM Medical Center has retrieved some patient schedules following last week’s cyberattack, but full retrieval “is expected to take some time,” the hospital said in a press release yesterday.
At his press conference, Gov. Scott didn’t blame the hospital. “We have cyberattacks almost every day within state governemnt, in the economy,” Scott said. “From my standpoint they’ve done everything right. It was one of those fluke things that just happens.”
UVMMC issued this press release at 3 p.m. Thursday:
“Our IT team was able to successfully retrieve some appointment schedules overnight for the University of Vermont Medical Center, Central Vermont Medical Center, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and Porter Medical Center. We will continue working to retrieve additional schedules across the Network. In the meantime, patients should continue to try and confirm their appointments until all schedules are retrieved. Patients should also continue to bring medication lists and any other documentation, such as after-visit summaries from previous appointments.
“Lab samples continue to be processed with results sent to physicians as quickly as possible. We expect results will continue to be delayed 24 to 48 hours going forward.
“Our work with the Vermont Army National Guard to clear thousands of end-user computers and devices is ongoing. This process is expected to take some time.”
The FBI has not yet responded to Vermont Daily’s inquiry about the possible use of ransomware in the UVMMC attack.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.