MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Gov. Phil Scott on Friday extended Vermont’s State of Emergency during the coronavirus pandemic for another month, allowing cities and towns with colleges the ability to lower the limits on gatherings and hours to sell alcohol.
Scott said at a news conference those actions mean “they could set a curfew for bars and clubs.”
“Looking at case growth in other states, and hearing from other governors about what they saw, it appears uncontrolled parties and crowds at bars and clubs are a big part of the problem,” Scott added. “So, I believe giving our towns, especially the college towns, some additional mitigation measures to work with is the right thing to do.”
Scott said as of Friday, Vermont has the lowest number of COVID-19 cases per capita in the country. It also has the lowest total case count in the U.S.
A slight increase is expected in the next few weeks as college students return to the state.
Health Commissioner Mark Levin said testing has already begun for students “at entry,” with many hundreds of results so far.
A few students have tested positive for the virus. He said at least one positive result came back before the student left their home state, delaying their intended arrival. He said “there are thousands more tests” to be done at home.
“The combined early testing and quarantine protocols that the colleges have all put into place will enable them to protect the health and safety of students, staff, and community as the fall semester gets underway,” he said.