When will Vermonters see family, friends in person again?

Published: Apr. 29, 2020 at 5:50 PM EDT
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As the weather gets nicer and the data shows few to no new cases in Vermont, people are starting to ask us-- when can we resume our social lives?

"I'm ready to go back," said James Mullowney of Burlington. "I'm ready to jump out a window or something."

Even though Mullowney says he and his wife and daughter are together at home, he's missing in-person interactions.

"I'm doing OK. We have a lot of Zoom meetings and a little tired of that right now," Mullowney said.

So are others who wonder when they can see friends and family again.

"I think it's mentally very challenging. I mean, yeah, I can talk to anyone I want to talk with on the phone, but it's not the same as seeing them face-to-face," said Sydney Jimmo of Shelburne.

Noah Martin of Williston wants to see restrictions loosened but not too much.

"I think if we reopen everything right away, it's just going to go back to the way it was and get terrible again, I guess. So, I think with some restrictions but not as many as right now would be helpful," Martin said.

At Wednesday's press conference, Gov.Phil Scott had no new answers when asked when Vermonters could expect the social spigot to reopen.

"We're going to keep watching the data and the science and make our decisions based on that, not on public pressure and the public pressure is immense," said Scott, R-Vermont. "I'll take the pressure. But what I can't take is looking into the eyes of a family member who's been harmed in some way or lost due to action that we took... We want to ease restrictions just as quick as we can, but it has to be safe in order to do so."

But neither he nor the health commissioner indicated what specific data they would use to define what "safe" is. The governor went on to say that putting people back to work has been the top priority and that everyone needs to do their part by following the hygiene and safety protocols.

"If you do all that, we'll get back to normal much quicker than if you defy everything that we're providing for guidance," Scott said.

But when WCAX News was at the bike path and skate park in Burlington, we didn't see much social distancing. A sign, in part, that some Vermonters don't see the virus as a major threat anymore.

The governor said next week his staff will take another look at the data to see what else they can do. As for the stay-at-home order that expires on May 15, he said they will consider what to do after that but he made no promises.

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