By Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott has signed into law the municipal mask mandate bill passed by the Legislature yesterday, he said today. In the same breath, he predicted it won’t work.
“Mask mandates don’t work,” Gov. Scott said in his opening remarks at his weekly Tuesday press conference. “I think they will be divisive and counter-productive.” He introduced and signed the bill as a compromise to legislative leaders, who wanted a statewide mask mandate.
The new law gives municipalities up to 45 days to adopt an ordinance (selectboard approval only needed, no voter referendum needed) requiring masking in indoor public places.
Scott also said:
- Merck and Pfizer anti-viral pills may be authorized within several weeks. The Merck pill is a ‘cousin’ of Ivermectin, which has been discouraged by American medical and government authorities but is used widely as an effective Covid treatment overseas.
- In recent weeks 69,000 Vermonters have been tested for Covid-19 – more than 10% of the state’s entire population.
- Covid “is going to be with us for some time, just like other viruses, just like the flu,” he said.
- He’s watching the European “hot spots” like Germany, and the trend towards lockdowns, such as in Austria. “It’s concerning, what we’re seeing in Europe,” he said.
- 30 Vermonters have died of Covid-19 this month. There is no fully/partially/not vaccinated breakdown of deaths.
- More than two-thirds of hospitalized and ICU Covid-19 cases are unvaccinated Vermonters.
- The State of Vermont cannot, and will not, require vaccine passports at indoor high school sporting events. However, mandatory masking will continue. It’s a decision that must be made locally, he said.
- He said he is “sorry to see him go” when asked of the retirement of Rep. Brian Savage (R-Swanton). Savage will become the Swanton Town Administrator.