On Monday morning Republican Gov. Phil Scott announced he is lifting all state-issued lockdown policies regarding masks, social distancing, travel requirements and other restrictions, and many observers on YouTube blasted him for exercising dictatorial power over their lives for 15 months.
“Now that we have hit 80%, as promised and effective immediately, I am lifting all remaining state pandemic restrictions and the state of emergency will formally end at midnight June 15,” announced Gov. Phil Scott at a press conference Monday.
“There are no longer any State COVID-19 restrictions. None. Unless there is a federal requirement in place, like for public transportation or long-term care facilities, employers, municipalities and individuals can operate under the same conditions as before the pandemic.”
“This is a truly transformational budget that will allow us to recover from the pandemic and address some longstanding challenges, including our workforce shortage and economic inequity that exists from county to county,” said Governor Scott.
Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed two bills that would have let noncitizen residents of Montpelier and Winooski vote in local elections. However, he signed H.430, which will create a program similar to Dr. Dynasaur so undocumented immigrant children and pregnant woman can obtain health insurance coverage.
The Scott Administration worked closely with the Legislature to pass historic investments, including $190 million for housing, $150 million for broadband and $50 million to mitigate climate change this year.
“Because Vermonters have answered the call, today I am announcing an opportunity to eliminate all restrictions sooner than originally planned. So, here is my challenge to Vermonters: If we hit 80%, I will lift any remaining restrictions and mandates that day. To reach 80%, we will need to vaccinate 27,954 more Vermonters.”
Following CDC guidance, masking and physical distancing for fully vaccinated Vermonters — except in limited circumstances like in schools, on public transportation, healthcare settings, long term care facilities, prisons etc. — is no longer required. The mandate remains in place for those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
“In conclusion, because this bill contains urgently needed funds for Vermonters, I am allowing it to become law. But the Legislature should take note that I will not support any additional, unnecessary, or unwise use of ARPA or ESSER funding.”
The changes allow two unvaccinated households to gather at a time, and permitting restaurants to seat multiple households together, but no more than six people can be seated at the same table. Masking, distancing, capacity limits, and other mitigation guidelines remain in place.
People who are fully vaccinated may travel to Vermont and return from out of state travel without quarantine restrictions, once 14 days have passed from when they received their final dose. Additionally, people who meet this vaccination criteria may now gather with one other household at time.
“As governor of Vermont and a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, I thank President Biden for his decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Gov. Scott. “To tackle climate change effectively, we need strong federal commitment, as well as local support. In Vermont, we’re working to do our part.”