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Gov. Scott orders restaurants, bars to close

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MONTPELIER — In an effort to limit spread of the new coronavirus in Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott on Monday afternoon ordered the closing of all bars and restaurants, beginning 2 p.m. on Tuesday, and effective at least through April 6. Food takeout and delivery service will be permitted.

The latest amendment of the executive order Scott issued Friday afternoon came hours after an announcement that public gatherings would be limited to 50 people, or 50 percent of the capacity of a facility, whichever is less.

The limit on gatherings applies to all social, recreational or entertainment activities, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, gymnasium, fitness center, library or any other confined indoor or confined outdoor space.

Additionally, state government agencies and departments are working to transition the state employee workforce to remote work, while also implementing measures to limit person to person transactions in state offices, like the DMV. Those measures will be combined with 90-day extensions in license and registration renewals. 

The latest changes reflect the growing trend of confirmed coronavirus cases in Vermont, new recommendations from the CDC, social distancing and mitigation efforts recommended by the Vermont Department of Health, and ongoing discussions with neighboring states, Scott said.

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“I want Vermonters to know we’re continuously evaluating other mitigation steps and we’ll continue to communicate those as they are put into place,” Scott said in a statement issued Monday. “It’s important to remember that in times of crisis we all need to make sacrifices. But Vermonters, and all Americans, have risen to many challenges before, and this time will be no different.”

The executive order issued Friday banned most visitors to the state's nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and prohibited non-essential gatherings of more than 250 people.The state has tested 415 people for COVID-19, and 12 people have tested positive, said Mark Levine, health commissioner, at the press conference Monday morning.

Levine said the number of cases in Vermont is continuing to increase and there is now evidence the virus is being spread by person-to-person contact rather than just through known sources of transmission such as foreign travel or contact with a sick individual.

“Even these small numbers indicate that community (transmission) is occurring," Levine said.

For most people, the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, results in only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.


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