Vermont stay-at-home order to be extended beyond mid-April

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 4:34 PM EDT
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Governor Phil Scott warned Vermonters Friday to expect to stay at home for the next several weeks. In a few days he plans to extend the order beyond mid-April and says even more restrictions are in the works.

"This will be long term, we're going to have to monitor this for some time," Scott said during a media briefing Friday.

On Thursday the state released COVID-19 projections showing a modicum of hope. Data shows that the disease will peak in late April to early May. Scott says when life returns to normal, the state will bring parts of its economy and workforce back online. "We'll unwind in the same fashion and pay attention to the experts and the data and science that is coming forward to guide us," Scott said.

Right now, we don't know which businesses would be able to open up first when the coronavirus pandemic passes. This past week the state has placed restrictions on travel, lodging, and shopping for nonessential products. Scott says there's a number of measures the state can put in place to further prevent the spread of the disease, but he did not elaborate on what those additional restrictions might look like. "We're moving in the right direction and the mitigation efforts are having a beneficial response, so we want to continue down that path," he said.

Authorities so far have not taken any punitive action against businesses operating in defiance of the governor's stay-at-home order and say they are hoping for voluntary compliance. But the Vermont Attorney General's office is rolling out guidance for issuing fines and penalties.

There are also concerns about recurrences of COVID-19 after the projected peak. Scott says how we fight the virus is changing by the day on the local, federal and global levels. "For us to say we'll go back to normal after this wave is over would be disingenuious," he said.