Town-by-town mask mandates spur debates across Vermont

The decision by Vermont lawmakers to implement a town-by-town masking policy is causing widespread debate as each community decides how to respond to the threat from the coronavirus.

In Rutland Town, Selectboard member Don Chioffi was the only official on the board to vote against a new mandatory masking policy that includes fines starting at $25 for the first offense.

“It’s a big power grab and a tremendous overreach by big government, with all its power, and I’ve had it with mandates,” Chioffi told TNR in a phone interview Friday. “The government has reached far enough into our lives and it should be over.”

While Chioffi was the minority voice on the board, he said comments on social media have been 90 percent supportive, and some constituents are informing him that they will be taking their Christmas shopping dollars elsewhere if the town goes through with this mandate.

In Burlington, Mayor Miro Weinberger is backing a citywide proposal to mandate masks for any business that can’t prove all workers and customers are vaccinated. The only exceptions include places of worship, schools and vaccinated employees who don’t interact with the public. The City Council will take up the proposal in a special session on Wednesday.

On Twitter, former city councilor Ed Adrian praised the mayor’s proposal.

Norwich Selectboard Vice Chair Roger Arnold posted Thursday night that each town must “promote community” by requiring each other to wear masks.

A Valley News report states that several towns in the Upper Valley, including Hardford’s Selectboard on Tuesday, will take up the controversial subject.

Some lawmakers, including Sen. Minority Leader Randy Brock, R-Franklin, noted that while the League of Cities and Towns did formally request that the governor put forth the town-by-town proposal for masking laws, the organization had not reached out to any Vermont communities for feedback. Brock told his Senate colleagues that 68 towns indicated to him that they were against the idea, while just two supported it.

Anne Sosin, a health researcher and policy fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, is calling for a statewide mandate.

The city of Montpelier also is expected to impose a local mask mandate. As reported by VTDigger, Montpelier City Manger William Fraser, in a written message to Gov. Phil Scott, said “Montpelier will almost certainly enact a local mask requirement. It seems less likely to be helpful, however, if similar requirements are not enacted in neighboring communities.”

Some from outside of Vermont expressed disappointment with the recent COVID restriction trend.

New data from the Vermont Department of Health continues to support that most COVID-19 deaths are among the elderly. As of Nov. 23, 217 COVID-associated deaths are over age 80, 97 victims were in their 70s, 49 in their 60s, and 27 in their 50s. The state has recorded 16 deaths of Vermonters under age 50.

The state of Florida, which has been criticized for not supporting masking mandates, reported the lowest daily coronavirus cases per capita in the nation this week.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Public domain

17 thoughts on “Town-by-town mask mandates spur debates across Vermont

  1. So, are the police going to physically arrest people? What if the horrible person who refuses to wear a mask tells the authorities to GO POUND SAND! What a complete farce. Masks only show who’s subservient to the friggin’ liberal socialists. I wish I was still in Vermont so I could intentionally travel maskless and get in the face of all the lemmings. This is the perfect opportunity for civil disobedience on a grand scale.

  2. The real Fascists, by real definition, are stepping right up to mandate masks and vaccinations to the masses. To them, this is not America, this is Meta Amerika.

    • I will not wear a mask. This is America and the government is not telling me how to live. Stick your mask where the sun never shines. I refuse to be a puppet. I love my freedom. Stop living in fear, there is always going to be a virus out there.
      Take a look at Florida, lowest in the Nation and no mask mandate. Lowest deaths, lowest hospitalization.

  3. And when it doesn’t “work “ to reduce Covid numbers they will just blame all the towns that didn’t do this.

    If an individual store wants to do this it’s their business. But for the city or town to order this? I for one won’t spend a dime in any town while they have a mask mandate.

  4. Oooooo…this will be velly intellesting.
    We’ll get to see who the Little Lord Faucists I mean fascists are in our tiny towns and communities…
    Those who with a little bit of authority turn into Goebbels, Himmlers, Stalins, Mao’s, and Hitlers… with just a whiff of power…come one! come all!
    The Grinch is orchestrating from the wings!
    No more tradition.
    No more family or community gatherings.
    And for gawds sake, don’t let a child ever ever ever ever respond to a smile on an adults face.
    (I mean…can you imagine the cruelty in the hearts and minds of supposedly human tyrants making sure your child grows up never knowing what a room full of laughing, smiling, hugging, joking adults looks like?)
    When they come for me….who will…?
    Where are the enforcers? What are the fines?
    Or …just corral everyone into Winooski FEMA center?

  5. We, the people, have our own natural light of reason. It allows us to discriminate and to make decisions. Each person has this.

    Those who have knowledge of medicine have a great deal of specialized knowledge but that gives them no right to regulate the behavior of others for what they perceive as “the greater good.” There are many examples of the medical profession being deadly wrong in its moral exhortations, pushed to became law or used to promulgate laws. Eugenics comes to mind. So does the Third Reich, an overwhelmingly biomedical program to purify the race from contaminants.

    Authoritarian medicine says to we, the people, that our own individual light of reason, our power to discriminate for ourselves, is invalid because it doesn’t have sufficient medical knowledge to decide. But our light of reason includes our own moral compass, our own humanity and our own decency, and is legitimate in and of itself. Our own light of reason can discriminate when the authorities are lying to us, for ends we may not be able to see. The authoritarians don’t like it when we call out their lies and so they insist that we turn our moral compass, our humanity, and our decency over to them.

    How did it work out in the past when the authorities decided what was right for the people, rather than let the people decide for themselves their own greater good according to their own lights? I can think of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and present-day China and North Korea of examples of how the power of the authoritarians leads only to massive suppression and great evils in the name of “it’s for the greater good.” Their power-lust creeps up, in increments, exactly as has been happening for the past 20 months or so.

    Our “public health” is best served if we are a free people who can make our own decisions in the light of accurate knowledge. But, we know that our medical authorities are outright lying to us about so many things related to Covid. The authoritarians don’t like it when we call them liars so they engage in repression, censorship, more lies, and laws to force obedience to what they’re decided for us is our greater good. They want to take a jackboot to our individual light of reason and insist that their own reasons are superior: they, not we, are the decent people, the good people, the people with the moral compass, and the deciders.

    No, they are not.

  6. Trying to stop the virus with a mask is like trying to stop a mosquito with a chain link fence.

  7. Yes!, we “vote” with our money. Any town that adopts this tyrannical behavior will get none of my money. ( Heck, let’s show em! Why don’t we all just start ordering beans and rice from Goya, out of Texas or Florida, and buying anything else we can from Mike Lindell the My Pillow guy.)
    In all seriousness though, how does the town of Rutland expect to collect the fines. Who will be the enforcer. Things could get really ugly. God help us all.

  8. Yes!, we “vote” with our money. Any town that adopts this tyrannical behavior will get none of my money. ( Heck, let’s show em! Why don’t we all just start ordering beans and rice from Goya, out of Texas or Florida, and buying anything else we can from Mike Lindell the My Pillow guy)
    In all seriousness though, how does the town of Rutland expect to collect the fines. Who will be the enforcer. Things could get really ugly. God help us all.

  9. Re: “…taking their Christmas shopping dollars elsewhere if the town goes through with this mandate.”

    This is the means to successful lobbying. The town that allows freedom of choice will succeed economically (e.g. Von Mises’ economic democracy). There’s nothing more sobering than throwing a party and having no one show up.

  10. It is fascinating that the rationale for a mask mandate is based on statements (above) such as:
    “We have strong and consistent evidence that masks work-” without citing the “evidence”. Are we to take it on some sort of faith that the person uttering these statements has evidence? I haven’t read nor heard of a conclusive study one way or the other that does anything but support the view of the funder of said study. Are we to take statements from fauci, the megalomaniac as true and unbiased?
    Masks appear to be even less effective than the miracle “vaccine”- the one that we will need 3 and more doses of in order for some to feel “safe” when entering Starbucks. In two years at this rate, we will still be hearing about masks and “vaccines” to avoid contracting some yet undiscovered variant of SARS-CoV-2 that is hyped as more dangerous than the last.
    Perhaps the solution lies not in avoiding infection, but in treating the infection and acquiring natural immunity to it. Maybe there is some merit to the anecdotal evidence of “off label” uses of generic drugs available now. Not much profit for the pharmaceutical industry, not many dollars there for the medical industry- but these corporations will get by, somehow. And we might be a whole lot better off for it. Yes, SARS-CoV-2 is real and kills. We may find that our attempts at avoiding it are killing more than the disease itself. We certainly do not know the effect of the “vaccine”, nor long term masking on our bodies- and more importantly on our children’s bodies and long term health. Are we risking our children’s health so we might “feel” safer?

  11. My comment posted earlier today on a November 26th True North Reports article seemed to go well with this article & it is copied below. Because as far as Im concerned there is no debate, no talking with, or negotiating with these Fascist Communist Socialists especially those who are supposed represent everbody in their area not only themselves their families and fellow USA hating Communists like Pro tempore president B Balint because whether turned into a law or not un-Constitutional means not Constitutional therefore the law itself, & any policies, mandates, & municipality created Ordinances made as a result are illegitimate, illegal, & again un-Constitutional. Anybody fined should take it to court & by the time you get a court date the law will be expired.


    To the angry Fascist Communist Leftist Regressive Brattleboro Select Board.

    What makes you think Im going to blindly obey you when I wouldnt blindly obey the Communist Fascist Biden & his goon squad of bureaucrats and the Nazis at the federal level nor the State level commies??


    Just because your fellow Communist Fascists up North passed an Illegal un Constitutional law doesnt make your evil Socialist Communist agenda legitimate!!

    You leftist Socialist Progessive Fascists people really hate America & our Federal & State Constitutions how are you guys taking oaths to something you hate and want to destroy!! If leftists can pick and choose what laws & when to follow them including when to use the Constitution for their benefit only one day then destroy it the next.. You can all Go &%$* yourself with whatever pro nouns & safe space soy eating monument destroying BS you want somewhere else!!

    One of these days I will tell my story of trying to save VT taxpayer money while on VVH Board of Trustees. My colleague and I had an almost flawless plan but we got shut down that how I know nowadays the Communists like Bernie Sanders are full of BS they know Climate Change Global Warming is BS also but a big money maker for them, and my colleague and I plan would have ended that almost immediately while also making them look like the unintelligent idiots they are!!

    Andrew Cotrel
    Brattleboro VT
    Patriot Constitutionalist Freedom lover
    US Army Combat Veteran OEF/OIF

    Oh yeah Lets Go Brandon, Lets Go Brattleboro Select Board FJB FBSB!!

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