Burlington Police to only issue stay-at-home fines as a last resort

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont police departments are now able to fine residents who aren't following the state's stay-at-home order. Our Kiernan Brisson spoke with the Burlington Police officials about how and when they will fine offenders and what Vermonters are still allowed do for outdoor activity.

Monday's springlike weather had many people itching to get outside. But it's a new world outside, and people we met are working hard to navigate it.

"Its been one thing that's interesting, especially with a puppy, is like you have to try to really maintain your distance when you're walking by people, and people have made such an effort to do that," said Kira Camrude of Burlington.

"It's something that nobody understands -- what it is really -- and that's what we're trying to cope with," said Michael Strange of Jericho.

And now local police are left to enforce Governor Scott's stay-at-home order. "They can go outside to exercise, they can go outside for groceries, for medicine, and to care for others," said Burlington Police Dep. Chief Jon Murad. But he says they will fine those deliberately disobeying safety guidelines and have already been warned. "They are willfully being outside, often in groups that exceed ten, often in groups who are not their family members, in order just to be."

Most people are outside to avoid cabin fever but say they are also following safe practices to avoid making themselves or others sick. "I think we just have to live our lives and we have to live our lives a little bit differently until this is over with. And as long as we keep our distance and we keep to the CDC guidelines, I think we're going to be fine," Strange said.

The Burlington Police say they haven't had to issue any fines so far and they only plan to use them as a last resort.