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As COVID Numbers Decline, Scott Eases Restrictions On Construction, Manufacturing

Gov. Scott standing at a podium next to a screen reading "Restart Vermont."
Screenshot
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ORCA Media
Scott said businesses cleared to resume operations Friday will still have to abide by guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

More workers in the construction trades and manufacturing industries were cleared to return to work Friday after Gov. Phil Scott lifted some of the restrictions he’s imposed on business operations in Vermont.

Scott said crews of up to five people will now be allowed to do outdoor work, or work in unoccupied structures, so long as workers wear face masks and maintain six feet of distance from each other.

Manufacturing and distribution operations are also permitted to reopen, Scott said, though they’ll be limited to a maximum of five workers per facility, and will also have to follow face mask and social distancing guidelines.

Looking for the latest guidance on COVID-19 restrictions? Click here.

Scott is also permitting “outdoor” retailers to resume business, such as nurseries and garden centers. The governor added, however, that no more than 10 people, including customers and staff, can be on site at any one time.

“The best way to continue to take small steps forward is to make sure we put health and safety first,” Scott said during a press briefing Friday. “If we want to continue getting Vermonters back to work, there must be a constant, consistent everyday battle to fight this virus.”

"If we want to continue getting Vermonters back to work, there must be a constant, consistent everyday battle to fight this virus." — Gov. Phil Scott

More than 80,000 Vermonters have filed for unemployment since the “Stay Home” order issued by Scott last month forced businesses across the state to close their doors.

Scott pointed out, however, that these drastic measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 appear to be paying dividends.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to slow, according to data compiled by the Vermont Department of Health

“Vermont’s overall experience continues to trend better than even our best-case forecasts,” said Commissioner of Financial Regulation Michael Pieciak, who’s spearheading COVID-19 modeling for the Scott administration. “This week, the data indicates that we have likely reached our peak regarding the demand on hospital resources. And also, in the near future, we anticipate reaching our peak of Vermonters with the active virus — a very important indicator.”

"Vermont's overall experience continues to trend better than even our best-case forecasts." — Michael Pieciak, Financial Regulation Commissioner

Vermont has confirmed 825 cases of COVID-19 since the new coronavirus was first reported in the state on March 7, and 43 people have died of the disease.

Pieciak said if current modeling trends hold, Vermont will have sufficient healthcare resources to care for all residents who require hospitalization as a result of contracting COVID-19.

“Our [personal protective equipment] supply, our hospital and ICU and ventilator capacities, remain far above the current projected needs,” Pieciak said.

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