Basic health precautions remain key deterrent to viral spread

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 5:07 PM EDT
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The upcoming 4th of July led to a holiday theme at the Governor Phil Scott's press conference Wednesday, and a familiar message -- COVID-19 spreads easily and it's imperative to continue with efforts to social-distance, use masks, and wash hands.

"In education terms, we call this planned redundancy to reinforce the concept," said Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

Health officials remain concerned about the potential for over-sized celebrating crowds. Vt. Commerce Secretary Lindsay Kurrle applauded how towns are getting creative to keep Independence Day festivities going safely with drive-in fireworks, longer parades, and take out foods instead of concerts and cookouts. Officials are putting up a list of planned events to give other towns some ideas on the state's website.

"We have been impressed with how these towns are putting public health first while balancing the need to give Vermonters a way to responsibly celebrate their summer traditions," Kurrle said.

Vermont State Parks open Friday, though some amenities will be missing. It's the same day the governor expects to expand the number of states in the travel map, allowing more people outside Vermont to come visit without a quarantine. "Our regional data shows we can turn the spigot," Scott said.

He said those tourists are vital to restarting Vermont's economy, but he warned more layoffs outside the hospitality industry are expected too. The National Life Group announced 53 jobs were cut and Darn Tough Vermont is giving 50 employees pink slips. "This is the wave. I have been forewarning this will have economic ramifications that will affect all of us," Scott said.