Burlington residents who flout the statewide stay-at-home order could get slapped with a $100 ticket, the city said Friday.
The Burlington Police Department will begin enforcing Gov. Phil Scott's executive order this weekend, aiming at what city officials said is a small number of residents who are "willfully" not complying.
The new approach was announced at Mayor Miro Weinberger's afternoon briefing.
Burlington police Deputy Chief Jon Murad said defiance of the stay-at-home order threatens to undermine the sacrifices made by everyone else.
"Those sacrifices ought not be undone by a small number who are either purposely or just recklessly ignoring the orders everyone else is following," he said.
Police will issue municipal tickets with fines that start at $100 and can run as high as $500, according to city attorney Eileen Blackwood.
Since the stay-at-home order took effect March 25, city officials have focused on education about the requirements. That won't change, Murad said, but now officers may ticket those who don't listen to their instruction.
The police department recently investigated rental car companies, including airport vendors and U-Haul, after hearing complaints that those businesses were operating illegally by renting for nonessential purposes. Police found that the Burlington U-Haul was out of compliance but said the business agreed to change its practice after the police visit.
Murad said the department wasn't aware of any other businesses that were out of compliance but added that officers were investigating short-term vacation rentals such as Airbnb.
The city's effort was announced shortly after Attorney General T.J. Donovan issued a statewide directive asserting that his office would oversee all enforcement decisions related to the stay-at-home order.
Under the directive, law enforcement officers must first request voluntary compliance. If a problem continues, they will contact the AG's office, which will decide whether to bring civil or criminal action.
Civil enforcement could include a request for a legal injunction and a penalty of up to $1,000 per day. Criminal charges are a "last resort," Donovan wrote, but could include a $500 fine and six months in prison.
The AG's involvement does not extend to municipal tickets that Burlington police plan to issue.