By Guy Page
Because Vermont reached the 80% vaccination threshhold this weekend, the pandemic State of Emergency declared in March 2020 will end at midnight tomorrow night, Governor Phil Scott said at a press conference today.
What pandemic restrictions, if any, will remain after the SOE expires tomorrow night? The following comments were made by Scott and other officials at the press conference:
- Children will be encouraged but not required by state order to wear masks indoors. It remains to be determined whether Vermont public schools will require masks and social distancing in the fall. When an under-12 vaccine is approved, Vermont officials will implement a vaccination campaign. Gov. Scott said vaccination decisions will be up to the parents.
- Masking and social distancing is advised, but not required, for unvaccinated Vermonters in public places.
- All capacity restrictions for gatherings and events (effective immediately, not tomorrow night).
- Businesses may require “vaccine passports” for customers, Gov. Scott said. They also may require masks and social distancing of both employees and customers, he said. He compared such requirements to the right to enact a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy. The state’s universal guidance for businesses would be ‘encouraged’ for all sectors.
“This is something businesses will have to decide for themselves,” Scott said. “But I’m okay with it.”
- While he urged employees to “do the right thing” and get vaccinated, it is not clear whether employers will be allowed to terminate for non-vaccination, especially once a vaccine receives final FDA approval. This question is likely to come up at a scheduled press conference tomorrow.