Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Monday ordered anyone arriving in the state to self-quarantine for 14 days to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus that causes COVID 19.
The governor’s order applies to both Vermonters and out-of-staters arriving for anything other than “an essential purpose.”
The governor took the additional action after federal guidance that advised residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.
“We need everyone entering Vermont to be a good neighbor and abide by the self-isolation directive and then to follow afterward the stay-home, stay-safe order,” Scott said during his regular Monday briefing.
He said the order does not apply to people who are going to the grocery store or who work across the border.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Scott also followed up an order on Monday from last week to forbid all but essential lodging operations. The order applies to hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and short-term rentals. All campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks are also ordered closed.
The governor’s order does carry potential civil penalties of between $1,000 and $10,000 per violation, said Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan. There is also a criminal penalty that carries a potential $500 fine and six months imprisonment.
“I want to be very clear, the last thing any of us wants to do is enforce these orders and seek those penalties,” Donovan said. “We are asking for your compliance, we are asking for your cooperation. That being said, we all know that we have a role to play in this crisis.”
Over the weekend, state and local police across the state checked on the 318 known lodging properties, said Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling. Of those, 88 properties were open and half of those were in compliance with the governor’s order by housing people such as health care professionals, military personnel or flight crews.
Another 44 appeared to be non-compliant, Schirling said. The non-compliant establishments received a letter Sunday from the Health Department and the Department of Public Safety.
“To emphasize, we really expect voluntary compliance,” Schirling said.
As of Monday, Vermont was reporting more than 255 cases of COVID-19, up more than 20 from Sunday.
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said seven of the fatalities were related to an outbreak at the Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center.
An additional two fatalities were linked to a senior living facility in Essex Junction made up exclusively of people aged 55 or older, Levine said.
One of the fatalities was of a “significant other” of an employee at the center. The second fatality was of a resident.
Watch: Symptoms of the coronavirus disease