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Governor Phil Scott Announces New COVID-19 Community Mitigation Measures - Directs the Closure of Close-Contact Businesses and Further Restricts the Size of Mass Gatherings to 10 or Less

March 21, 2020

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced additional community mitigation measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While most individuals affected by the Coronavirus will experience mild to moderate symptoms, others – especially the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions – are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. Governor Scott and public health officials have set a strategy aimed at protecting those at greatest risk, slowing the spread of illness in our communities and minimizing the risk to the public.

In consultation with the Department of Health, the Governor has determined it is necessary to prohibit in-person operations at close-contact businesses, meaning those unable to comply with guidelines for social distancing. That’s why Governor Scott has directed gymnasiums, fitness centers and similar exercise facilities, hair salons and barbers, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors to close all in-person operations no later than 8:00 p.m. on Monday, March 23.

“As I’ve said throughout this crisis, I will continue act to slow the spread of this virus in Vermont because we must protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and ensure they can get the care they need, when they need it,” said Governor Scott. “We will continue to make decisions based on science and guidance from our experts. I don’t make these decisions lightly and my heart goes out to these workers and small business owners who are feeling the negative effects.”

On Friday, Governor Scott outlined initial actions his administration has taken to support individuals, families and businesses through this challenging time.

On March 13, Governor Scott declared a State of Emergency and has since directed numerous mitigation strategies to reduce close contact among individuals, including the temporary closure of bars and restaurants, schools and child care facilities (other than those providing services for the children of essential personnel) and DMV district offices; and postponing all non-essential medical procedures.

At this time, all other businesses not named may remain open, but must work to implement CDC and the Vermont Department of Health guidance related to COVID-19, including:

  • Maintaining a distance of six feet between people;
  • Ensuring employees practice appropriate hygiene measures, including regular, thorough handwashing;
  • Ensuring that employees who are sick remain home; and
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The addendum requires all public and private enterprises to post appropriate notices for compliance with the above listed recommendations.

Governor Scott has also further reduced the allowable size of non-essential mass gatherings, which are now limited to no more than 10 people at the same time in a single space.

A "non-essential gathering" does not include normal operations at airports, bus or railway stations where persons may be in transit; typical office, construction, manufacturing, grocery, food production, retail and retail banking, professional or other employment environments; gatherings of the press; or operations of the Vermont Judiciary or General Assembly consistent with their constitutional authority. 

“There is no doubt these are difficult times, and my administration – with the help of the legislature and Vermont’s Congressional delegation – will do all we can to help those impacted by this virus or these measures,” Governor Scott added. “I’m proud of the people of our state and how they’ve pull together. The strengthen of Vermonters is how I know we’ll get through it. I encourage everyone who is able, to join this movement to make a difference in this time of crisis.”

For details on these new measures, click here to read the full addendum.

Commercial entities, employers, event sponsors and others with questions should contact the State Emergency Operations Center at 800-347-0488.

For the latest information and guidance relating to Vermont’s COVID-19 response visit