Gov. Phil Scott has ordered all "close-contact businesses" in the state — spas, barbershops, nail and hair salons, gyms, and fitness centers, as well as tattoo parlors — to close by Monday, March 23, at 8 p.m.
Such businesses are "unable to comply with guidelines for social distancing," the governor's office said in a Saturday morning press release. Scott has already ordered the closure of schools and childcare centers, bars, and restaurants amid the continuing spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus.
“As I’ve said throughout this crisis, I will continue act to slow the spread of this virus in Vermont, because we must protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and ensure they can get the care they need, when they need it,” Scott said in the release. “We will continue to make decisions based on science and guidance from our experts. I don’t make these decisions lightly, and my heart goes out to these workers and small business owners who are feeling the negative effects.”
The order issued Saturday also prohibits nonessential gatherings of more than 10 people, down from the maximum of 50 the governor allowed in a March 16 directive. Scott declared a state of emergency on March 13 and initially capped gatherings at 250 people.
Per the release, "A 'non-essential gathering' does not include normal operations at airports, bus or railway stations where persons may be in transit; typical office, construction, manufacturing, grocery, food production, retail and retail banking, professional or other employment environments; gatherings of the press; or operations of the Vermont Judiciary or General Assembly consistent with their constitutional authority."
The new restrictions are in place until April 15, according to the order.