Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Vermont State Response & Resources

Table of Contents: Overview | Vaccine Threshold Progress | State of Emergency | COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out | RestartVT: Phased Re-Openings | Vermont Forward Plan | Relief for Individuals, Families and Businesses

(Updated June 14, 2021)

Overview 

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. Governor Scott and public health officials have set a strategy to slow the spread in order to protect those at great risk, ensure capacity at healthcare facilities and minimize the risk to the public. The state is continually updating community mitigation measures and guidance in close consultation with the Vermont Department of Health and based on new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organiztion (WHO).

For the most current information on COVID-19 in Vermont, visit healthvermont.gov/covid19.

TRANSLATED RESOURCES

Click here to find translated videos and other resources relating to COVID-19

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Vaccine Threshold Progress:

On May 21, Governor Scott announced that when 80% of Vermont’s eligible population (those 12 and older) have received at least one does of the COVID-19 vaccine, the state will move to the final step of the Vermont Forward plan, which means he will remove all remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

On June 14 we reached our goal of vaccinating 80% of eligible Vermonters. 

If you haven’t yet received your COVID-19 vaccine, you can help Vermont reach this important goal. Getting your vaccine has never been easier, and we continue to find ways to make it more accessible to Vermonters across the state. Register for an appointment or find upcoming walk-in clinics at healthvermont.gov/myvaccine.

State of Emergency

On March 13, 2020, Governor Phil Scott declared a state of emergency to help ensure Vermont has all the necessary resources to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Executive Order | Press Release | Governor's Video Message| Governor's Press Conference

Strategies are updated based on guidance from federal and state public health officials and include the following actions:

  • On March 23, 2020, Governor Scott ordered telecommuting or work from home procedures for all businesses and not-for-profit entities, to the maximum extent possible (effective March 23-May 15, 2020). Addendum 5 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference 

COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-Out

In Vermont, we have had a team of talented experts working for months to prepare for what is an unprecedented effort to deliver safe and effective coronavirus vaccines.

There is no better, safer, or faster way to defeat this virus and revitalize our economy than a successful effort to make vaccinations available to every Vermonter. We are committed to working with our partners to get this done, so we can get through the pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever before.

On Friday, March 19, the Governor outlined the age banding strategy to vaccinate every Vermonter. The age-banding approach has proven successful in lowering cases among those at greatest risk of hospitalization and death and we believe it is the most efficient and fastest way to get all Vermonters vaccinated.

It is important to note, however, this schedule is dependent on receiving the doses the federal government has committed to deliver. But if they do, the remaining age bands will become eligible for registration on the following timeline:

Age     Registration Starts
60+      March 25        
50+      March 29                    
40+      April 5                        
30+      April 12                      
20+      April 19                        
16+      April 19

To be clear, these are dates Vermonters can sign up. It does not mean everyone will be fully vaccinated by then. As a reminder, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your final dose.

Appointments should be available about two to three weeks after the age band opens. Everyone in each age band will have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated about two months after their band opens. So, everyone in the final age band could be finished by June, which is why the Governor has used July 4 as a marker for when things will start to feel normal again.

We encourage everyone – even if they are not yet eligible to be vaccinated – to prepare ahead of time for when it is their group’s turn. By going to healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine and creating an account now, you will be able to simply log in to make the appointment once you become eligible.

Restart Vermont: Phased Re-Openings

On April 17, Governor Phil Scott outlined an approach for the phased restart of Vermont’s economy, emphasizing the state’s modeling indicates initial steps can be taken to put some Vermonters back to work, while the Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect. This process is being done in close consultation with the experts at the Vermont Department of Health, and based on the state's modeling.

The Governor also outlined five principles, developed in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Health, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), ACCD and others, which will guide the state’s Restart Vermont planning and decision-making process. They are:

  • Keep our eyes on the data
  • Maintain health care readiness
  • Increase testing and tracing
  • Work Smarter & Work Safer
  • Play Smarter & Play Safer

Vermont Forward Plan

The Vermont Forward roadmap is three-step plan to methodically and safely ease mitigation measures as more Vermonters are vaccinated. While it is subject to change, offers Vermonters, municipalities, non-profits, and businesses the ability to plan with greater certainty for the months ahead. Vermonters have been asking for insight into the long-term reopening strategy, and this is meant to provide a transparent look at the state’s plans. The plan was developed over months, with a team from the Department of Health, State Emergency Operations Center, Agency of Commerce and Community Development and Agency of Human Services.  It uses vaccination rates as the key milestones for transitioning to more general, universal guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19; modifying travel guidance; and when gathering size can increase between now and July 4.   

Vaccines make this possible: 

Vermont has substantially completed vaccination of its most at-risk residents, including those over the age of 65 and those with certain high-risk health conditions, as well as school employees, and workers in childcare, health care, long term care and public safety sectors.  As a result cases, hospitalizations and deaths significantly decreasing among the 65+ age group.

Milestones & Steps: 

Three steps lead to July 4, when the State expects to transition universal guidance mandates into recommendations. The timeline is subject to change, but given current vaccination uptake and supply projections, the State feels confident the milestones can be met.  

These steps take a phased approach to transition sector groups to “Universal Guidance.” Rather than complicated sector-specific guidance, universal guidance requires businesses and other organizations to operate within 6 key public health practices:  

  • Six-foot distancing required for all customers and employees 

  • Masks required for all customers and employees 

  • Minimize crowds 

  • Stay home when sick (educate customers and employees on this standard) 

  • Practice good hygiene (ensure easy access and regular use of handwashing, cleaning, etc.) 

Certain sectors will maintain their sector-specific guidance. Currently, this includes education (childcare, k-12, higher ed, summer camps), healthcare, ski areas and event venues/large gatherings 

Step 1; Effective April 9, 2021

Vaccine milestone: 89% of those 65+ vaccinated; 45started or completed vaccination 
Policy changes 

  • Group A sectors move to “Universal Guidance”  

  • Group A = Outdoor businesses; Outdoor rec businesses; Outdoor fitness; Low/No-Contact Professional Services; Farmer’s Markets; Retail operations; Lodging (note restaurants and event spaces still operate under their sector guidance) 

  • Cross State Travel  Vermonters returning from out-of-state travel or visitors entering the state are required to obtain a negative test within 3 days of return/arrival. Quarantine is no longer required. Vaccinated individuals continue to travel with no restrictions.  

Step 2; Effective May 1, 2021
Vaccine milestone60% started
Policy Changes:

  • Group B sectors move to “Universal Guidance”  

  • Group B = Manufacturing; Restaurants; Religious facilities; Gyms/Fitness CentersOrganized sports; Hair Salons; Indoor arts and culture; meetings of public bodies 

  • Gatherings & Events – 

  • Indoor: 1  unvaccinated person per 100sf with maximum 150 (plus any unvaccinated) 

  • Outdoor: 300 maximum (plus any unvaccinated) 

Step 3; Effective June 1, 2021

Vaccine milestone85% started

  • Travel Policy – no quarantine or testing required 

  • Gatherings & Events – 

  • Indoor: 1 unvaccinated person per 50sf with maximum 300 (plus any unvaccinated) 

  • Outdoor: 900 maximum (plus any unvaccinated) 

Estimated: July 4, 2021

Vaccine milestoneAll Vermonters who want a vaccine will have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated 
Policy changes 

  • Business Operations – Universal guidance encouraged (not required) for all sectors 

  • Gatherings & Events – No capacity restrictions 

  • Masks & Distancing – Encouraged but not required 

Prior restart efforts under these principles include:

  • On March 19, 2021 announced the opening of bars and clubs under restaurant guidance, effective March 24, 2021.
  • On March 12, 2021 announced 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.
  • On February 23, announced changes to the COVID-19 travel policy. 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.
  • On November 17, announced the opening of five new testing centers in Burlington, Middlebury, Waterbury, Rutland and Brattleboro, which will operate seven days a week so that two-thirds of Vermonters will be within a 30-minute drive of a testing site. Also announced that voluntary testing for all teachers and school staff has begun (with about 1,700 tested on November 16) and will continue throughout the week, as well as increased contact tracing staff. Press Release
  • On November 12, joined Northeast governors in suspending interstate youth hockey competitions. This suspension was extended on December 30. Press Release
  • On November 10, as the number of counties eligible for quarantine-free travel has dropped, temporarily suspended the cross-state travel map effective immediately, requiring a 14-day quarantine – or 7 days followed by a negative COVID-19 test – following any non-essential out-of-state travel by Vermonters and for all travelers entering Vermont from another state. Also announced an expansion of the State's testing program by developing a plan to offer testing every day of the week at locations throughout the state, increasing surveillance testing of asymptomatic populations, and implementing a regular rotating testing schedule for Vermont teachers and school staff. Press Release
  • On November 6, issued an advisory for private social gatherings, strongly recommending they be limited to 10 or fewer people, in response to an increasing number of cases as a result of socializing and in anticipation of the holiday season. The Department of Health also released a Holiday Travel Toolkit for Schools in addition to existing resources to help Vermonters evaluate risk and talk with family and friends about COVID safety. Press Release
  • On November 3, announced guidance for school-sponsored winter sports programs to allow practices and games with additional health and safety requirements, and announced guidance for ski areas to add extra layers of protection on top of existing business and recreation guidance. Winter Sports Guidance | Ski Area Guidance
  • On September 18, updated guidance to allow bar seating at restaurants and bars (with six feet between patrons and a partition between patrons and staff behind the bar), and lifted capacity restrictions to allow lodging establishments to book all available rooms (with mandatory safety measures, travel restrictions, quarantine requirements and dining and gathering limits in place). Press Release
  • On August 18, signed an Order modifying state regulations so that home-based providers can be reimbursed for more than 4 hours of care on school days. This will add about 3,000 spots to help parents who are navigating different school schedules for in-person learning. Additionally, it will be develop regional childcare hubs for school-aged children on remote learning days. Addendum 4 to Amended and Restated Executive Order No. 01-20
  • On June 26, as state data and expanded testing and tracing capacity continue to support reopening, Governor Phil Scott announced he will expand the number of states covered under Vermont’s county-by-county quarantine-free travel policy, which allows direct travel from designated counties without a 14-day quarantine requirement. Press Release 
  • On June 19, announced that, effective June 26, occupancy limits for event venues, arts, culture and entertainment venues, as well as restaurants can expand capacity for events and dining to 50% of approved occupancy size or one person per 100 square feet of customer facing space. This change will allow for indoor events of up to 75 people and outdoor organized events of up to 150.  Press Release | ACCD Guidance 
  • On June 17, announced several measures to gradually ease restrictions on Vermonters in long-term care facilities, hospitals and those over the age of 65. Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
  • On June 15, signed an executive order to update and extend the State of Emergency in Vermont to July 15. The latest order reflects all current (June 15) re-openings and eased restrictions, which have been underway since late April to account for the State’s low case counts and continued slow growth rate. Amended and Restated Executive Order 01-20 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference 
  • On June 5, as state data and expanded testing and tracing capacity continue to support reopening, Governor Scott announced the resumption of limited indoor seating at restaurants and bars and a data-driven approach to allow travel to and from designated areas without a 14-day quarantine requirement. Addendum 17 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference | ACCD Guidance 
  • On June 1, announced a restart plan for resuming driver’s license tests and a new service for Vermonters to receive their learner’s permit online as the state begins limited resumption of services paused due to COVID-19. Press Release
  • On May 29, announced the resumption of additional close contact businesses, dental procedures, businesses that require work in the home, and of limited overnight youth summer camp programming. As state modeling continues to indicate a low number of COVID-19 cases, he also increased the size of social gatherings. Press Release | Governor's Press ConferenceACCD Guidance | Health Department Guidance 
  • On May 22, announced the resumption of additional business operations, including outdoor seating at restaurants and bars, hair salons and barber shops and some additional health services. Addendum 15 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference | ACCD Guidance | Health Department Guidance 
  • May 20, ACCD issued guidance enabling restaurants to offer limited outdoor service starting May 22nd. The guidance allows dining to occur in accordance with mandatory health and safety practices outlined in the Work Safe guidelines.
  • On May 19, ACCD released new sector specific guidance, effective immediately. Low contact professional services, including but not limited to attorneys, accountants, realtors, non-profit workers, and municipal workers, will be able to resume in-person business operations in settings of 10 or fewer people. Pools, beaches, and swimming facilities may open in accordance with previously issued outdoor recreation and fitness guidance. Vermonters may hold yard sales and garage sales with 10 or fewer people; hosts and visitors must practice social distancing and it is recommended that they wear cloth face coverings. Those coming to Vermont from out-of-state must quarantine in Vermont before utilizing a lodging property, campground or short-term rental.
  • On May 15, signed Addendum 14, a Be Smart, Stay Safe order to extend the State of Emergency to June 15 and update previous emergency orders to reflect re-openings and eased restrictions announced in recent weeks. Addendum 14 Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
  • On May 6, announced that outdoor recreation and limited social interactions may resume under strict health and safety precautions, as state modeling continues to indicate a slow in the spread of COVID-19. Addendum 13 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference 
  • On May 4, announced limited elective procedures would resume, which had previously been put on hold as Vermont’s health care system focused on preparing for, and responding to, COVID-19. Ammendment to Addendum 3 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference 
  • On May 1, announced a third incremental, evidence-based step forward to put Vermonters back to work. Addendum 12 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference 
  • On April 29, the state is significantly increasing and strengthening its testing and contact tracing programs in order to quickly identify, contain and suppress outbreaks of COVID-19.  Press Release | Governor's Press Conference 
  • On April 24, outlined some additional openings as part of the phased restart of Vermont’s economy. Addendum 11 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference 
  • On April 17, outlined an approach for the phased restart of Vermont’s economy, emphasizing the state’s modeling indicates initial steps can be taken while the Stay Home/Stay Safe order remains in effect. Addendum 10 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference 

Relief for Individuals, Families and Businesses

“I want every Vermonter to know I understand fully the incredible economic and emotional toll coronavirus is having and will continue to have on each and every one of us. As we continue to work on our first mission to protect the health of Vermonters, we also know financial security is critical for us to recover from this pandemic as well… Let me be clear: my team and I are fully aware these initiatives are not enough. People are hurting and businesses are at risk. Let me assure you: we will pull every lever and turn every dial we can to support folks through this time.” – Governor Phil Scott, March 20, 2020

On May 20, Governor Scott announced a $400 million economic relief and recovery package, using funds from the $1.25 billion the state received from the Federal CARES Act. Press Release | Governor's Press Conference

On June 12, Governor Scott announced Phase II a $400 million economic relief and recovery package, using funds from the $1.25 billion the state received from the Federal CARES Act. Proposal | Press Conference 

On August 21, Governor Scott announced a $133 million economic relief and recovery package, using funds from the $1.25 billion the state received from the Federal CARES Act. Proposal | Press Release

Unemployment Benefits

** For details on unemployment benefits, please visit labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance. **

Healthcare

Utilities and Connectivity

Small Business Support

** For details on available resources and funding for businesses, please visit accd.vermont.gov/covid-19 **

Flexibility and Relief

Contact Information

Office of Governor Phil Scott
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609
Phone: 802 828-3333 (TTY: 800 649-6825)
Fax: 802 828-3339

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