Scott Extends State of Emergency to July 15 | Off Message

Scott Extends State of Emergency to July 15


  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Gov. Phil Scott
Gov. Phil Scott on Monday extended Vermont's state of emergency until July 15 in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Scott initially declared a state of emergency in mid-March and has re-upped it three times since. The designation grants him authority to enact broad measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

"Remember, the state of emergency is just a vehicle, or mechanism, to do all the things we need to do to manage our response," Scott said at a press briefing. "It's not the same thing as the stay-at-home order. And it doesn't mean all restrictions stay in place. In fact, it gives us a way to lift them when the time is right." 

To that end, Scott announced that campgrounds can now return to full capacity. He said further steps can be expected in the near future if positive trends continue, with an announcement planned for Wednesday about visiting long-term care facilities.

"I know that with every move we make, some believe it's way too much, too fast. Others believe it's way too little and too slow," Scott said. "I hear and understand the concerns on both sides. But there are no easy answers or simple solutions — and there's certainly no roadmap. "

Officials also provided an update to a coronavirus outbreak in Winooski, which now accounts for 83 of Vermont's 1,128 total cases. Health Commissioner Mark Levine said recent data from the city suggests that the "box it in" testing and contact-tracing strategy may be successfully slowing the spread of the illness.

Levine cautioned that it was "way too early" to "put a checkmark and move on." But he said the state's overall rate of infection remains low enough to continue loosening business restrictions, dismissing any notion that the Winooski outbreak is connected to the reopening of the state's economy.

"We would see [outbreaks] all through the state if that were true," he said.

Scott has said that further outbreaks are inevitable until a vaccine is widely available. As he has done at other briefings during the pandemic, Scott took a brief moment Monday to stress that he will continue to follow the best advice of health experts.

"I know this has felt like a very long journey already. And so much uncertainty remains. You're tired of it, and just want it to be over. I can relate," he said. "But if we continue to stay smart, use common sense and take care of each other, we will get through this."