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Gov. Phil Scott Offers An Update On The State's Response to COVID-19

Gov. Phil Scott at a podium.
Peter Hirschfeld
VPR File
On March 31, Gov. Phil Scott issued a new executive order, requiring that anyone who enters Vermont for non-essential travel self-quarantine for 14 days.

On Monday, Gov. Phil Scott issued a new executive order requiring anyone who travels into Vermont for non-essential business to self-quarantine for 14 days. The order also placed additional restrictions on lodging operations. As the number of cases of COVID-19 in the state rises to 293 with 13 deaths related to the virus, Gov. Scott joins Vermont Edition for an update on the state's response to coronavirus. 

What is your average day like right now? 

Gov. Phil Scott: The days are long. Obviously we're making a lot of decisions, trying to get as much information as possible... it's just a constant barrage of decisions.

Are you getting enough sleep? 

Gov. Phil Scott: Fortunately, I don’t require a lot of sleep, I never have. Being in the construction business for 35 years prepared me for this, they’re long days. I usually typically get up early anyhow, I get up at 4:30 a.m., and I sometimes will watch the 11 o’clock news [the previous night]. And I’ve done that for a while. And it’s seven days a week, not five or six. You know, we're all doing our part. I've got a great team that surrounds me, and that's part of the key.

You've ordered refrigerated trucks in the case that we have more fatalities from COVID-19 than we have space for in Vermont. What other kinds of equipment and supplies are you looking for?

Gov. Phil Scott: Ventilators are an issue. It's unfortunate, but because we have this patchwork of states all trying to get the same type of protective equipment necessary for employees, in some cases we are competing. We need to coordinate better. I'm working with our neighbors to make sure we're not competing and are actually working together and trying to order, when we can, together. 

The governors of California and New York have asked for out-of-state health care workers' help in treating COVID-19 patients.  Do you see Vermont making the same call to health professionals who can help from other states or fields?

Gov. Phil Scott: We have a workforce shortage here in Vermont during normal times, in particular in the healthcare field. We're trying to do what we can to keep moving forward, but you'll see in the not-too-near future, we'll be making the same plea.

Anything we can do to make sure we are prepared for the surge.

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What are you doing statewide in regards to evictions and foreclosures?

Gov. Phil Scott: We're working with the Legislature on this issue.

The real answer is trying to get the checks out to people. There are always ramifications for whatever you do, and so making sure that we protect those who own the homes too... this ripple effect is something we have to consider. 

If we can't come to a resolution with the Legislature and this becomes a problem, obviously we'll put this into place.

Is the state working on anything to cover those who aren't included in the most recent federal relief package

Gov. Phil Scott: There are some loan provisions [included] and so forth that can be forgiven in some instances. We're just trying to wrap our arms around this. It's a huge package. 

We will be getting $1.2 billion, which will be a tremendous help, but that won't be the end of it. We're going to need more from the feds, but we're also going to have to do more as a state. That said, we have to first take care of the [health] crisis and make sure we're paying attention. 

[The other piece is, we need to] stay away from each other — it's that simple. Think about the ramifications of coming into contact with someone who may not be protected. That might be the weak link in our efforts.

Got questions about COVID-19? We've got answers. Here's a list of FAQs about the coronavirus, with responses from VPR reporters.

Broadcast live on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2020 at 1 p.m.; rebroadcast at 8 p.m.

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