MONTPELIER, Vt. – As the state continues its sustained efforts to encourage mask use as a tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable, Gov. Phil Scott announced strengthened mask requirements in public places and congregate settings.
“Based on national and regional data on how the virus is spreading – and rather than waiting like other states have – I feel we need to act now to protect our gains, which have allowed us to reopen much of our economy,” said Gov. Scott. “That’s why today I signed an order, which will strengthen our current mask mandates, so that we do not take steps backwards and we can stay open into the fall as people move more of their interactions indoors.”
Effective Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, the amendment requires all Vermonters to wear masks or cloth facial coverings any time it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet with others from outside their household.
Those who are not required to use masks include those exercising outdoors, those under the age of 2, those with a medical or developmental condition that is complicated by a facial covering, and those with difficulty breathing. Businesses and other entities may require customers to wear masks, including signage explaining mask requirements and denial of entry or service to those who decline to wear masks.
“Unfortunately, this issue has become polarized and I’m still worried that a mandate will create unnecessary conflict and resistance,” Gov. Scott said. “Attacking, shaming, and judging isn’t going to help; but understanding, educating, leading by example, meeting people where they are, and maybe a little kindness and understanding will.”
Developed in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, this amendment is critical to the state’s strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19 in anticipation of K-12 and college students returning to school, as well as the fall and winter recreation seasons.
To view the full amendment to the Executive Order, visit www.governor.vermont.gov/content/addendum-2-amended-and-restated-executive-order-no-01-20.
For more information on COVID-19 health information, guidance, and case data, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.