Updated 8:10 p.m.
Gov. Phil Scott has ordered Vermont residents to stay at home and directed businesses and non-profits to cease “in-person” operations by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“I want to be very clear about this: We need everyone to limit activities outside of the home and to practice social distancing at all times to slow the spread of this highly contagious and potentially deadly virus,” Scott said in a written statement.
Under Scott’s order, people in Vermont are permitted to leave their homes “only for essential reasons critical to health and safety.” This includes buying groceries and medicine and for exercise.
Businesses and non-profits, meanwhile, “must suspend all in-person business operations."
The order includes an exemption for businesses and other entities “deemed critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”
The list of exempted businesses includes healthcare operations, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, gas stations, and news media.
“I fully recognize the emotional, financial and economic impact of these decisions, but based on the best science we have available, these measures are necessary,” Scott said. “I need all Vermonters to understand that the more quickly and closely we follow these stay-at-home measures, the faster and safer we can get through this and get our daily lives, and our economy, moving again.”
Scott will hold a news conference on the order Wednesday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, health officials had confirmed 95 cases of COVID-19 in Vermont. Seven people have died of the disease.