GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT ISSUES ORDER ON TRAVEL & LODGING RESTRICTIONS TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH “STAY HOME, STAY SAFE” ORDER AND NEW CDC GUIDANCE
Calls for Compliance with CDC Travel Guidance for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
Orders 14-Day Home-Quarantine for Anyone Traveling to Vermont
Updates Guidance and Compliance Measures for Lodging Operations
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today ordered additional restrictions on travelers arriving in Vermont and announced additional guidance for the lodging industry to enhance compliance with his Stay Home, Stay Safe order.
The measures under the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, effective March 25, were implemented in consultation with the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health to minimize all unnecessary activities outside the home to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect the public.
Governor Scott is taking additional action to encourage compliance with newly released CDC guidance around interstate travel from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which advised residents of those states to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.
In light of the significant risk posed by the further spread of this dangerous virus to Vermonters and the viability of Vermont’s health care system, this new order directs residents and non-residents coming from outside the state for anything other than an essential purpose to home-quarantine for 14 days and strongly discourages travel to Vermont by those located in COVID-19 “hot spots.” Details and exemptions are outlined in Addendum 7.
“We all must do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 to minimize infections – particularly for those who are elderly or have underlying chronic health conditions – and prevent it from overwhelming our healthcare facilities,” said Governor Scott. “I understand there will be some who need to travel from other states to return to a home in Vermont or support a vulnerable family member. But we need anyone entering Vermont to abide by this 14-day self-isolation directive, and then follow Vermont’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order while here. We must work together to slow the spread of this virus.”
The Governor’s order also provides additional guidance to lodging providers to ensure compliance with the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, which suspended lodging operations.
The order makes clear that lodging facilities – which includes hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short term rentals (e.g. VRBO, Homeaway, Airbnb, etc.), and all public and private camping facilities and RV parks – are to be closed except for stated exemptions when supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. Additionally, the Governor has suspended online lodging reservations.
Under this order, the Vermont State Police and local law enforcement will monitor lodging providers for compliance and work with the Attorney General’s Office on additional compliance measures if needed.
Addendum 7 provides lodging operations with additional details on requirements, and state agencies will also be reaching out to these businesses directly.
“These are incredibly difficult times, but the more closely we can follow all of the CDC and Health Department guidance, the more effectively we can slow the spread and save lives,” said Governor Scott. “I know we’re asking a lot of business owners, workers, school employees, parents, students and all Vermonters. But your sacrifice is not for nothing. If we do this now, we can slow the spread of this deadly virus and keep many of our neighbors and loved ones alive and healthy.”
The Stay Home, Stay Safe order and today’s updated travel and lodging order are in effect until April 15, 2020, though may be extended or shortened as needed. For full details, please see Addendum 7 below, or click here.
For the latest information and guidance relating to Vermont’s COVID-19 response, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.
ADDENDUM 7 TO EXECUTIVE ORDER 01-20
[Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in Vermont]
WHEREAS, on Friday, March 13, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 01-20, Declaration of State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19 and National Guard Call-Out (“Executive Order”), declaring a state of emergency for the State of Vermont in response to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, aggressive and sustained efforts are necessary to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and lessen the strain on Vermont’s healthcare system; and
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 virus continues to spread and threatens to overwhelm the State’s ability to respond; and
WHEREAS, due to extensive community transmission of COVID-19 in our neighboring states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (“CDC”), has advised residents of those states to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately; and
WHEREAS, many Vermonters are returning to Vermont as the weather warms; and
WHEREAS, Vermont recognizes and understands the desire of many of our second-home owners who are residents in regions of the country where COVID-19 is viewed as a greater threat to return to their homes in Vermont;and
WHEREAS, on March 24, 2020, the Governor issued an Executive Order directing all Vermonters to stay at home or in their place of residence, leaving only for essential reasons and further directing all businesses and non-profit entities to cease operations unless these entities provide services or functions deemed critical to public health and safety (“Stay Home/Stay Safe”); and
WHEREAS, Stay Home/Stay Safe made clear commercial lodging shall be suspended unless required to support COVID-19 response, critical infrastructure and national security; and
WHEREAS, the Governor has determined, in light of the significant risk posed by the further spread of this dangerous disease to Vermonters and the viability of our health care system, to direct residents and non-residents alike coming from outside the State to self-monitor and home-quarantine for a period of 14 days.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Philip B. Scott, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of Vermont by the Constitution of the State of Vermont, the emergency powers set forth in 20 V.S.A. §§ 8, 9 and 11 and other laws, hereby order the following:
1. To preserve the public health and safety, to ensure the healthcare delivery system is capable of serving all, and to help protect those at the highest risk and vulnerability, any person, resident or non-resident, travelling into Vermont for anything other than an essential purpose, must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days or the balance of 14 days dating from the day of arrival.
2. “Essential purpose” for purposes of this quarantine restriction shall mean travel required for personal safety; food, beverage or medicine; medical care; care of others; and to perform work, services or functions deemed critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security, as set forth in Stay Home/Stay Safe.
3. The Agency of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles are hereby directed to post this guidance at all major points of entry into Vermont, on highway message boards and at the Burlington International Airport and all other Vermont airports.
4. Guidance for self-quarantine shall be made available by the Vermont Department of Health.
5. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Vermont if they are displaying symptoms or if they are travelling from cities and regions identified as COVID-19 “hot spots,” including, among others, the states of Florida and Louisiana and the cities of Detroit, Chicago and New York City. In addition, residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut should stay in their home states in strict compliance with CDC travel guidance issued Saturday, March 28, 2020. This is essential if you will be in close contact with people who are older adults or have a severe chronic health condition.
6. For the purpose of clarifying Stay Home/Stay Safe as it relates to the suspension of lodging operations, “lodging” shall include, but not be limited to, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short term rentals, such as those made available through VRBO, Homeaway, AirBnb and other services, parks for recreational vehicles and campgrounds, all public and private camping facilities including those managed by the Vermont Department of Parks and Recreation. Lodging may be provided for the following purposes:
a. Housing vulnerable populations (emergency shelter for homeless individuals) as arranged through the state.
b. Providing accommodations for health care workers, or other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety or critical infrastructure.
c. Use of lodging properties being as quarantine facilities as arranged by the state.
d. Limited verifiable extenuating circumstances for the care and safety of Vermonters.
On-line reservations shall be suspended and lodging providers shall post a prominent notice on their web platforms which advises potential guests that reservations for lodging in Vermont, as allowed above, shall be accepted by phone only.
Lodging providers may permit existing guests to remain through the end of their scheduled stay, however, may not allow extended stay or new reservations, except for the purposes set forth above.
7. All state agencies and departments, including the offices of elected officials in the Executive Branch, which register, regulate or otherwise have contact information regarding lodging facilities, shall provide an electronic advisory regarding the suspension of lodging operations, consistent with this Executive Order.
8. The Vermont State Police and all county and municipal law enforcement agencies shall monitor the compliance with this Executive Order by lodging providers and notify the Office of the Attorney General regarding potential non-compliance using a reporting method prescribed by the Department of Public Safety.
9. The Attorney General shall take such steps as he deems necessary and reasonable to ensure the compliance of lodging providers with this Executive Order.
Except as otherwise set forth herein, this Addendum to the Executive Order shall take effect upon signing and shall continue in full force and effect until April 15, 2020, at which time the Governor, in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, the Agency of Human Services and the Department of Public Safety/Division of Emergency Management shall assess the emergency and determine whether to amend or extend this Order.