Signs in Burlingtons’ storefronts read, “Masks mean business.” In just about a week, similar signs will be posted statewide.
Governor Phil Scott announced plans to issue a mask mandate effective Aug. 1. But he assured Vermonters this doesn’t mean panic.
“This isn’t a panic. This is just doing the right thing. And doing it like we have everything else…in a measured way,” said Governor Scott.
The Scott Administration explained they have been monitoring the virus with a careful eye. If Vermont needed to issue the mask mandate immediately, it would have. Instead, Governor Scott is giving the state some time to prepare.
“I think we need to give time to some of these businesses and entities to get their signage up, to prepare people for this, as well as people individually,” said Governor Scott.
He along with his administration said Vermont is leading the nation in lowest case count, and a mandate like this will help keep numbers low.
“We just want to make sure we’re on top of this and anticipating this so that we can prevent any resurgence here in Vermont,” said Governor Scott.
Businesses will be required to have proper signage posted to help inform people.
Connor Dermody, manager and bartender at Madriver Distillers says his customers have complied with their store policy and hopes this behavior continues.
“We’ve actually have had a very good response in terms of people coming in with a mask. I think everyone at the moment sees this as a very collective effort to try and prevent any spread of COVID,” said Dermody.
Others, like students at UVM, question whether the mandate will be enough as there are no consequences for those who don’t wear a mask.
“I think since they’re not enforcing it legally, that’s definitely less of an incentive for students, especially, to take that into consideration just because, if there are no repercussions, what’s really to make people do it,” said rising junior Ava Swiatowy.
For the most part, businesses are already prepared. One clothing store requires masks, sells them, and provides paper ones too.
“We don’t want to turn anybody away so we do offer disposable masks inside…If they want it, they can take it, and if they don’t, we ask them to leave…just for the safety of others,” said Sarah Geissler, a salesperson at Stella Mae.
Governor Scott urges Vermonters to give those not wearing masks the benefit of the doubt since there are exceptions for health reasons.
Several local businesses are confident Vermonters will comply with the state’s mask mandate because, as they reminded, we’re all in this together.