Vermont will allow campgrounds, marinas and lodging facilities like hotels to partially reopen next week, and additional sectors could resume in the coming weeks, Gov. Phil Scott said Friday.
“If the data continues to move in the right direction, we’ll be turning the spigot more and more,” Scott said at a news conference. “Between now and June 1, you can expect us to open up close-contact businesses like hair salons, indoor professional services, outdoor dining at restaurants, and increasing gathering size to 25.”
Nonessential gatherings with more than 10 people have been banned since March.
Meanwhile, Scott extended the state of emergency declaration to June 15. That also extends the state’s stay-at-home order, though Scott loosened it slightly. It lets Vermonters leave their homes to visit businesses that have been allowed to reopen, stay at in-state hotels and campgrounds, or have “limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings,” in addition to continuing to be able to go out for essential reasons.
Starting next Friday, lodging facilities can start housing Vermont residents or out-of-staters who have self-quarantined for at least two weeks.
Those facilities will be limited to 25 percent capacity, said Secretary of Commerce Lindsay Kurrle. Semi-permanent residents or essential workers do not count against that limit, she added.
Lodging operations will also have to comply with a range of other public-health measures, including limiting in-person services as much as possible and keeping a log of guests for at least 30 days in case contact tracing becomes necessary.
Mike Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, said officials continue to see evidence that the virus’ spread is slowing in the state.
“As of today, we have just one patient with COVID-19 in the ICU in Vermont, and our numbers continue to trend in a positive direction,” he said.
The state’s official tally of COVID-19 patients who have died — 53 — hasn’t changed in more than a week.
Since mid-April, Scott has gradually relaxed COVID-19-related restrictions on certain industries, though many remain subject to closure orders or limits on their capacity.
Scott said he’s tracking four key metrics as he makes those decisions: the share of hospital visits for illnesses resembling COVID-19, the number of occupied intensive-care beds, the rate of new cases and the percentage of tests coming back positive.