Over on my other blog, The Switchel Traveler, I published statistics about the prevalence of the disease:
On this blog I want to think about the question in the header: What is a proper relationship between a free people and their government – in a pandemic? As a first step, this post documents the actions that Vermont Governor Phil Scott has taken to date.
A state of emergency is in effect in Vermont pursuant to Executive Order 01-20:
- March 13: State of Emergency declared to April 15
- April 10: Extended to May 15
- May 15: Extended to June 15
The original emergency declaration on Friday, March 13, ordered a number of actions including: closure of assisted living facilities to visitors; and prohibition of gatherings of more than 250 people. In addition, the governor issued a directive on Sunday, March 15, ordering all schools to close by the end of the school day on Tuesday, March 17.
Additional lockdown measures were imposed in quick succession via six addendums to Executive Order 01-20:
- March 16: Prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people.
- March 16: Closed bars and restaurants except for take-out.
- March 20: Suspended elective medical procedures.
- March 21: Closed fitness centers, hair salons, etc. Prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people.
- March 23: Working from home ordered “to the maximum extent possible.”
- March 24: “Stay Home/Stay Safe.” (Addendum 6)
Addendum 6 directed Vermonters to “stay at home” except for “essential reasons” which, for most people, did not include going to work. With limited exceptions, the order said: “all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall suspend in-person business operations.” People were prohibited from working unless they were “critical” or could work without meeting other people, such as working from home.
Nearly a month passed before there was any easing of the lockdown. “Restart VT” has been as follows:
- April 17: Phase I. “Work Smart & Stay Safe.” 2-person outdoor crews permitted, and other actions, effective April 20.
- April 24: Phase II. 5-person outdoor crews permitted, etc., effective April 27.
- May 1: Phase III. 10-person outdoor crews permitted, etc., effective May 4.
- May 4: Authorized the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) to develop guidelines for elective medical procedures to resume. (Phase IV? Not identified as such.)
- May 6: Phase V. “Play Smart and Play Safe.” Allowed “limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings.” Outdoor recreation activities permitted effective May 7.
- May 13: Phase VI. Authorized the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) to develop guidelines for non-essential operations to reopen, beginning with non-essential retail, effective May 18. Click here for ACCD guidance.
- May 22: Limited outdoor dining and bar service permitted, subject to ACCD guidelines, effective May 22. Fairs and festivals cancelled until further notice.
- May 29: Limited reopening of fitness centers, hair salons, etc., and gatherings of up to 25 people permitted, subject to ACCD guidelines, effective June 1.
The following graphs are from the post COVID-19 in Vermont on my other blog, with key events noted on the timeline:At the time of the “Stay Home/Stay Safe” order on March 24 (Addendum 6), we were still on the upward slope of the curves, and we did not know how bad things would become. As it turned out, the 7-day average of new cases peaked on April 9 (at 41.4) and the 7-day average of deaths peaked on April 23 (at 1.7).
The image at the top of this post is the Vermont state seal from Executive Order 01-20. The Vermont state motto is “Freedom and Unity.”