Municipal mask mandate either not enough or goes too far, lawmakers say

By Guy Page

Gov. Phil Scott and the leadership of the Vermont House and Senate have agreed to hold a special session of the Legislature to consider legislation allowing municipalities to require masks indoors in public places. 

Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski and Senate Pro Tem Becca Balint say that because Gov. Scott won’t reimpose a State of Emergency and require masking, it’s up to the Legislature to act. Gov. Scott disagrees a masked mandate is either necessary or effective but agreed to make preparations for a Special Session beginning Monday, Nov. 22. 

In a letter to the two legislative body leaders, Scott outlined the parameters for a bill he would promise not to veto:

First, the legislation must be limited to facial covering requirements indoors within a municipality’s jurisdiction (except schools, which shall remain governed by the policies set forth by the local school board) for the specific, and exclusive, purpose of addressing COVID-19.

Second, the legislation must allow each municipality to enact, by action of the municipality’s governing body, a mask mandate beginning Monday, November 29, 2021, or upon passage, whichever is earlier.

Third, the legislation and authority to impose a local mask mandate shall sunset on April 30, 2022.

Vermont Daily Chronicle asked more than a dozen lawmakers, selected from Republicans, Democrats, and Progressives, to give their opinions on a municipal mask mandate. The most lengthy, in-depth reply came from Underhill-Jericho Rep. Dr. George Till, a strong supporter of a broader mask mandate. Rep. Vicki Strong (Albany) and Sen. Russ Ingalls also responded. Their thoughts are printed verbatim below. 

Also, Rep. Till and Rep. Strong will be my guests on WDEV Common Sense Radio, AM 550 and FM 96.1, today at 11 a.m. to discuss their thoughts and take questions and comments from the listening audience. The public is welcome to call in at 802-244-1777. 

Sen. Russ Ingalls

Sen. Russ Ingalls: I’m against any mandate including mask mandate. I believe that Vermonters have done what’s asked of them, from flattening the curve, to nearly full lockdown for months to getting 90% of the population vaccinated. We are on the downhill side of this and Vermonters aren’t interested in mandates being pushed by the Democrats and Progressives.

Rep. Till: It is an outrage that the Governor is requiring the cost and inconvenience of a Special Session for something he could do himself.   Let alone that this will apparently require an in person session at the Statehouse endangering a lot of at risk people.

Rep. Dr. George Till

However, mitigation of the Delta Variant COVID surge is long overdue, so if the Governor is unwilling to take steps, then yes, the legislature should meet.

What we should pass is not what the Governor is recommending.  Leaving it to municipal governments is certain to cause conflict and put local authorities in difficult situations.

Rep. Vicki Strong

A far better approach is what has been done in some other states, using a data driven approach.  Use the data driven approach some other states are using.  Some states are basing mask mandates on the county level rate of transmission of COVID which is reported daily by the CDC.  If there are substantial or high levels of transmission for multiple consecutive days, the county mandate kicks in.  If there are lower levels of transmission for a sustained time, the mandate automatically stops.  It accomplishes the regional approach without putting local authorities in a contentious situation.

Rep. Strong: I am not in favor of the legislature getting involved in mask mandates of any kind. I believe in personal responsibility and bodily autonomy for every individual as we each decide what is best for us.  I would rather that the Governor hold firm to not allowing mandates and to leave the decisions up to the people.

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12 replies »

  1. At this point, the activist demoKKKrats and progressives have abandoned the science and are going hard-core politics and optics on COVID. The hand washing and distancing in indoor public spaces are common sense measures that have also prevented flu and cold transmission but these liberal taliban are pushing their burqas for the same reason it is done in islamic bleepholes, to gain discipline and compliance. MY BODY, MY CHOICE…remember that slogan??? Oh, but we are talking about “risking the lives of others”……yea, just like when a pregnant person chooses to terminate…it risks the lives of others!
    Stand firm Governor Scott, and stick with science and common sense and let these marxists stick their necks out pushing for unnecessary mask mandates. At this point, we can hope that most people are getting sick of it and see it for what it is…leftist authoritarianism.

  2. Representative Dr. George Till is outraged. Good for him.
    Does Dr. Till have any accurate information on the short or long term effect of low oxygen levels of pregnant women or the fetus? (That should be child, but I’ll use terms Till will identify)
    He is an OB/GYN I’m told.
    Does Dr. Till have any accurate information of the long term effect of the available mRNA “vaccines” on pregnant women or their fetus?
    As he is an OB/GYN, I’d not ask him for information of either mask or “vaccine” effects of children, that’s a pediatrician’s area of expertise.
    I think I would ask him why Invermectin and HCQ only appear to work in the southern hemisphere and must be regarded as quackery in the northern hemisphere.
    Rep, Dr. George Till has made us aware of his opinions, but I’d really like him to reference the “data” he bases his opinions on. I’m just not sure a virus that escaped a Level IV Bio-weapons lab is going to be stopped by 3-plies of polypropylene or a homemade cloth mask, loosely held on a human face.
    Go ahead, Representative Dr. Till, we’ll wait for your answers….

  3. 11-12-21
    Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the country. So why are cases surging?

    Misleading data?
    “Case rates in Vermont residents who are not fully vaccinated are nearly four times higher than in fully vaccinated residents, according to state data…, per 100,000 people reported from Nov. 2 to 8.”

    Does this statistic – ‘per 100,000 people’ – count the entire Vermont population? No. Only those people ‘eligible’ to be vaccinated are counted – not per the entire population.

    The unvaccinated cohort includes in-state and out-of-state people with unknown vaccination status. And the unvaccinated cohort has not, until the last several days, included unvaccinated people NOT eligible to receive the vaccines, which includes, for the most part, nearly 100,000 children under 16 years of age who account for minimal hospitalizations or deaths.

    If those people who have NOT been eligible to be vaccinated are added to the unvaccinated cohort, the likelihood of infection, hospitalization and death is cut in half.

    What also continues to go unreported is that over the last two months, September and October, 65% of all deaths from Covid have been vaccinated individuals. Which is why Dr. Levine’s observation makes sense.

    “… waning immunity among residents who were “efficiently and effectively” vaccinated early on is also likely contributing to rising cases, Levine said. Breakthrough cases among vaccinated residents are up 31% over the past week, according to state data.”

    Clearly, the efficacy of the vaccines declines significantly within 6 months of taking it. This is why boosters are now being promoted. The question, then, is, how long will people have to get booster shots? Every six months from now on, or until a true vaccine is developed? Is ‘natural immunity’ more effective over the long term than these vaccines? If taking the vaccine doesn’t stop someone from a breakthrough infection or passing the infection on to others, why are officials recommending that children be vaccinated?

    In the final analysis, one aspect of these proposals that is obvious is that the wearing of face masks is only marginally effective. And if Texas and Florida data (not to mention Sweden) is any indication, forcing children to wear face masks is even less effective.

  4. Mandates are dictatorial. Wearing of a mask should be an individual’s choice and also a business owner’s choice to require of customers. It should not be the dictate of the town, country or state.
    Unfortunately Vermont has too many state personnel that love to control and regulate the population. And there are too many people who need/must have direction to feel they are secure. They call on government to regulate so they feel swaddled only to find they are actually being suffocated.
    The reasonable legislation should be to allow & support mask decision by the business.

    • No it should not. A business should not be able to impose any health regulations on it’s customers.

  5. we need to vote these control mad state representatives out of office, or this will never end! we’ve got too many people in our legislature who believe that making more laws to force people into submission to their ideology is necessary! when/where will it end? when we vote them out!

  6. The Governor never should have called for the special session. You know what the commie leftists are going to do. He’ll veto, they will override it. Not a brilliant move but hey, why start now.
    You commie leftists can take your masks and put ’em where the sun doesn’t shine!

  7. Scott should grow a set and put his foot down and say NO TO MASK MANDATES!!! What the hell are the demonuts thinking (or not thinking), It’s all smoking mirrors! I’m sure glad to see that the jab is working. Get ready for booster #2

  8. Now is the time to stop participating in a narrative, and start observing what is really happening around you!
    If you do not understand what is really going on, know it is real and happening now, but you must step outside the prevailing narrative to see it.
    Do not remain shackled to a legislative process when so much is at stake.

    And don’t look for guidance from Governor Scott or Dr. Lavine, they are captured by the actions they have already taken, to follow them any further is to only keep digging the hole they are vested in.

    As the administrations campaign to vaccinate Vermont children ages five to eleven rages on, our Governor is willing to compromise on mask restrictions but only through a process of legislation, our children don’t have time for these kinds of games when it is highly likely we are dealing with a Bio Weapon.

    I have been communicating for almost two weeks with my Senators and Representatives, trying to get them to step outside their comfort zone and call for a moratorium on vaccinating any more children. quite frankly I don’t know if I am making any progress, but I will continue to try!

  9. I keep asking the same three questions:

    1. If vaccination is about health and not about tyranny, why is there no vaccine mandate for Congress and their staffers, or the millions of illegal immigrants flooding across our southern border?

    2. If the vaccines work, why are the vaccinated so terrified of the unvaccinated? With 90% vaccination rate, nobody should have to wear masks.

    3. Why does Vermont as the US state with the highest vaccination rate also one of the highest % of cases per capita? And why has Florida where there’s no mandate of any kind, the lowest numbers?

    It’s pretty clear at this point that it’s largely the vaccinated who spread and die of COVID. When will people pull their heads out of their butts and realize what’s going on?

  10. ‘The Unvaccinated Are the New Jews’
    the dictates of the progressives read like Nazi Germany and the Netherlands

  11. The VSP CANNOT enforce LOCAL laws/ordinances, period! That would be up to local police and/or Sheriffs, IF the town(s) have a CONTRACT w/them, so basically it’s unenforceable even IF voted in and temporary to boot so what’s the POINT? For a REAL laugh-fest I would ask Guy to provide The Chronicle w/the links to the VSP/DPS’s “Snitch-Files” from last year, they are many but REALLY hysterical which is what HAPPENS when the “Gummint” allows neighbors to “turn in” other neighbors & businesses. I could go through them again & provide the file numbers of the REALLY off-the-wall files..What is the SCARIEST of ALL is the quick-slide to tyranny of the “masses” AND the “responses by the authorities” to BUSINESSES deemed “non-compliant” which shows just HOW the German Nazi’s garnered so much “public support” when folks can drop a dime ANONYMOUSLY to get others in TROUBLE..They were provided to me by (I think) Heidi Storm @ the VSP..Let’s HOPE stuff like THIS is NEVER allowed AGAIN! The Virus WILL Virus, masks, vaccines, lockdowns, etc. notwithstanding, fools!