Governor Phil Scott today announced a welcome update to the state’s travel quarantine policy. Starting Tuesday, February 23, people who are fully vaccinated and will no longer be able to travel to and from Vermont under quarantine restrictions for at least 14 days after their final vaccine dose. This change marks a major turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic, is based on the best available science, and speaks of the positive effects of mitigation and vaccines on reducing the spread of COVID-19.
As the governor noted in his press conference today, these changes raise many questions. Please note that we are actively considering a number of changes, including the importance of vaccination for multi-household gatherings and other considerations. Further restrictions are likely to be relaxed in the coming weeks, if science, data and advice from our experts allow.
For your planning purposes, however, you should at least expect that sometime this spring we will return to a travel and tour guide that matches (or is better) what we did last August.
We understand the need to be more secure in combining metrics that lead to specific policy changes. If we could give security, we would. The unfortunate reality is that this is a very dynamic and often unpredictable environment and political decisions are always a difficult and delicate balance.
The state’s top priority continues to be to ensure that people over 65 and those with certain health conditions are vaccinated as soon as possible. At the current vaccination rate, the health department expects the high-risk population to be essentially complete by mid-April. Until then we expect a more detailed assessment of the way forward. With the understanding that things could certainly change.
To reiterate, we believe that this spring the restrictions on both collecting and travel between states will be relaxed enough to allow many types of events and activities to take place.
The ACCD guidelines provided a way forward for events last summer, including capacity restrictions of 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors, as well as larger events when conducted with pods by attendees. Organizers and planners should use this as a basis for this summer. Please read this guide as you plan and book events as it is the starting point for future updates to the guide.
The entire ACCD team and I would like to thank everyone who reached out to us and provided insight into the challenges you are facing and your desire to keep public health and safety at the forefront of the conversation. We recognize that this was a historic challenge. We firmly believe that we are heading towards more promising times for our economy, communities, families – and ultimately a recovery that is full and sustainable for our state.
We hope that this communication and the existing guidelines provide a framework for planning summer events and assure ourselves that we can open up even more this spring if we can stay on our current course.
ACCD strives to stay in close contact as local conditions allow additional guidance to be issued.