Gov. Phil Scott Friday issued a “strong recommendation” that people limit private gatherings in their homes and elsewhere to 10 people or less. This follows last week’s decision by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to issue an executive order limiting private gathering sizes of 10 or fewer, with a 9:30 curfew and a $500 fine for scofflaws. Gov. Scott said at his press conference that his ‘strong recommendation’ isn’t a mandate - yet. His press release from Friday appears below.
Private social gatherings should be limited to 10 or fewer to help slow spread of COVID-19
Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, today announced an advisory on social gatherings, strongly recommending they be limited to 10 or fewer people.
Noting that Vermont has seen an increasing number of cases as a result of socializing, and many states are now pointing to private social gatherings as a contributor to spread of COVID-19, the State is providing firm recommendations to limit these types of events.
“While we can find plenty of evidence around the country, we also have plenty of examples from our own contact tracing teams of events that resulted in the unwitting spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Levine. “These include holiday parties, birthday parties, dinner parties, baby showers and barbecues. Now is the time to keep our social circles small.”
At Friday’s press conference, Dr. Levine noted the State is now advising that any private social gatherings include no more than 10 people, and with a very limited number of trusted households. This strong recommendation applies to all types of private gatherings, including just getting together with friends socially at home, on campus or around town. Capacity and gathering size limits at commercial facilities, which have rigorous safety requirements in place, have not been changed.
“We strongly advise Vermonters to limit gatherings in general, and if you host them, be smart and take precautions,” said Governor Scott. “I know this is difficult news, especially around the holidays. But by being smart about gatherings and travel now, we can keep schools and our economy open, and we will get through this pandemic faster and on better footing than just about any other state.”
The Governor also urged adherence to the State’s travel policy, which requires quarantine when traveling to counties over a certain case prevalence. Most counties now require quarantine, according to the State’s travel map. Click here to view the travel guidance.
The Health Department has also developed a Holiday Travel Toolkit for Schools for use in helping to encourage families to consider their plans carefully to protect one another, and offers resources to help Vermonters evaluate risk and talk with family and friends about COVID safety.
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