Gov. Phil Scott on Monday asked out-of-state residents not to travel to Vermont if they don’t need to be here, and he directed Vermonters who return home to self-quarantine for two weeks.
The governor also ordered all hotels, bed & breakfasts, campagrounds and short-term rentals like AirBnBs to close, and he suspended online lodging reservation systems.
“We’ve got to slow the spread of this virus by staying home and away from others as much as possible,” Scott said at Monday’s news briefing on the state’s reponse to the coronavirus. which has been linked to 12 deaths in the state.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine said the state is now monitoring an outbreak at Pinecrest at Essex, an apartment complex for people 55 and older, where two deaths were reported over the weekend. Levine said one victim was a resident of the senior-living facility; the other he described as a “significant other” of a resident.
Scott said his latest directives are partly aimed at complying with new Centers for Disease Control guidelines advising residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.
“Here’s what I want everyone to understand: If you don’t need to come to Vermont, please don’t,” Scott said. “But having said that, we can’t let this become an us versus them view of the world. That’s not who we are as Americans and certainly not as Vermonters, and we shouldn’t let anything change that.”
Scott’s latest order directs anyone who enters the state — residents as well as non-residents — to self-quarantine for 14 days. He asked travelers crossing into the state to make no stops before arriving at their destination. He said the goal was to protect the health of Vermonters and others who are already here, as well as to ensure that the state’s health care system does not become overwhelmed.
The governor ordered VTrans and the Vermont and the Department of Motor Vehicles to post the guidelines at major points of entry into the state, on highway message boards and at Burlington International Airport and other Vermont airports.
“This will help protect those currently in the state while allowing people who own a home or have a family to be here as well,” Scott said. “As Americans we’re all in this together, and we all have a role in keeping everyone safe.”