Gov. Phil Scott rolls out timeline for full reopening

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Gov. Phil Scott has announced a plan to lift most Covid-19 restrictions by July 4. At a press conference Tuesday, Scott unveiled a four-phase schedule for relaxing travel restrictions, loosening capacity limits for businesses, and eliminating gathering restrictions. Scott said the announcement was meant to allow families, businesses and other organizations budget and plan for the months ahead. “Our goal with this plan is to give Vermonters a transparent look at how we’ll be able to work our way out of this pandemic,” Scott said.

Masking and physical distancing guidelines remain throughout the first three phases. Both are still “encouraged” following July 4.

In Step 1, set to begin April 9, quarantine requirements for travelers would be lifted. Instead, unvaccinated people entering Vermont would be required to get tested within three days of arrival. Low- or no-contact businesses would also shift to “universal guidance,” a new set of restrictions to be shared by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. (Many businesses currently fall under sector-specific guidance, which would be lifted under the new plan.)

In Step 2, set to begin May 1, all other businesses would shift to universal guidance. Gathering restrictions would relax to a maximum of 300 people for outdoor gatherings and up to 150 people for indoor gatherings, with a maximum of one person per 100 square feet. Vaccinated people do not count towards capacity limits.

In Step 3, set to begin June 1, all travel restrictions would be lifted. Capacity limits for gatherings would increase to 900 people outdoors and 300 people indoors, with a maximum of one person per 50 square feet, again not counting vaccinated people.

As of July 4, remaining gathering restrictions would be lifted. Health care and education sectors would remain under separate guidance throughout. The plan is based on projections for Vermont’s vaccination rate, Scott said. Each phase includes a predicted start date, but Scott said those dates are subject to change. “We’re in the last laps of this very long and difficult race, and this plan shows how we’ll finish strong,” Scott said. “But I want to be really clear. The key to getting there are vaccinations, which is why we’re laser focused on making sure as many Vermonters as possible get them.” Those 40 and older, along with adults in certain occupations, with qualifying health conditions, or who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color, are eligible to make appointments now.

- Courtesy of VTDigger