Vermont Department of Public Safety issues guidance on enforcement of executive orders related to COVID-19
Law enforcement relies on educating the public and receiving voluntary compliance as Vermonters continue to care for one another
The Vermont Department of Public Safety has issued guidance to local police departments regarding enforcement of Gov. Phil Scott’s executive orders related to COVID-19. The latest cross-border travel regulations are effective Friday, April 9, 2021, and allow anyone to enter Vermont without quarantining provided they receive a negative COVID test within three days of their arrival. People who are fully vaccinated are exempt from the testing requirement.
Everyone, including people who have been fully vaccinated, must continue to adhere to public health and safety guidance such as wearing masks and respecting physical distancing. Other rules also remain in place, including some restrictions on multi-family gatherings, limitations on in-person dining at restaurants and service at bars and social clubs, and other steps. Additional information is available in executive orders from the Governor's Office and in information posted by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
The full plan for a phased return pre-pandemic normalcy by July 4, 2021, is called Vermont Forward and lays out a roadmap for reducing restrictions and reopening the state.
While regulations remain in effect, DPS and the Vermont State Police — the largest law-enforcement agency in the state — recommended to Vermont municipal leaders and law-enforcement executives that enforcement of executive orders be handled primarily through education and voluntary compliance.
“I have tremendous faith in Vermonters’ shared ability to follow these directives in order to save lives, and to support each other and their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Phil Scott said. “Vermont is a small state with close-knit communities known for looking out for the wellbeing of our neighbors. When we tell people to stay home to save lives, I’m confident Vermonters will do the right thing.”
Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling said that law enforcement and the public are partners in this process.
“Vermonters are really coming together to heed the orders that have been issued to date,” Commissioner Schirling said. “We believe that education and voluntary compliance is the key as Vermonters unite during this difficult time.”
WHAT IS THE ORDER?
Gov. Scott’s "Be Smart, Stay Safe" order directs Vermonters to use common sense when leaving home and continue to adhere to social distancing policies, such as remaining 6 feet from others (except for those with whom they share a home, and in cases of fully vaccinated individuals who are gathering together), regularly washing their hands, and avoiding touching their faces. Cloth face masks or coverings also should be worn in public. There are limits on the size and types of gatherings; full details are availabe on this continually updated webpage from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
Additional measures remain in effect, including rules regarding travelers arriving in Vermont. Effective Friday, April 9, 2021, quarantine will no longer be required for people traveling into Vermont. Unvaccinated visitors must receive a negative COVID test within three days prior to their arrival. Unvaccinated Vermont residents returning home must receive a negative test within three days of being back in the state. People who have been fully vaccinated (meaning two weeks have elapsed since their second shot in a multi-dose regimen, or after the administration of a single dose vaccine) are exempt from these testing requirements. Full details are posted on the Health Department’s website.
Vermonters planning to travel to other states should understand that each state might have its own quarantine policy, and Vermont residents should be familiar with, and follow, the quarantine policies of those states.
The "Be Smart, Stay Safe" order continues until at least April 15, 2021, along with Vermont's state of emergency. More information on the Vermont Forward roadmap to reopening is available here.
HOW ARE THE ORDERS BEING ENFORCED?
In instances where police officers observe or are made aware of potential violations of Gov. Phil Scott’s orders, law enforcement is encouraged to speak with the proprietor, staff, or group, provide a reminder of the new requirements, and assess voluntary compliance. Civil or regulatory mechanisms, specifically informing and educating those encountered in violation of the order about the mechanisms that may apply, could prove helpful. Members of the Vermont State Police in November 2020 conducted compliance checks and educational visits at lodging facilities, bars and restaurants statewide, finding general widespread compliance with current regulations. Vermont officials continue to expect the vast majority of compliance to be self-regulating.
The executive orders do not close roads, nor do they establish roadblocks, checkpoints or the authority to demand identification. People may be out and about. Motor vehicles with Vermont and non-Vermont registrations are allowed to operate, and traffic is expected to increase as restrictions ease. Accordingly, the orders do not establish cause to initiate a motor vehicle stop or detain people for questioning about their travel.
Members of the public who have concerns about businesses, lodging establishments, short-term rental properties, nonprofits or other entities that are operating out of compliance with Gov. Scott’s executive orders should call their local law-enforcement agency. They may also file a report with the online Department of Public Safety Health & Safety Compliance Reporting Tool.
WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
Vermonters seeking additional information about the executive order should call 2-1-1, and visit the websites of Gov. Scott (governor.vermont.gov) and Vermont Emergency Management (vem.vermont.gov). Please do not call Vermont State Police dispatch.
Commercial entities, nonprofits, employers and others with questions about acceptable continuation of business operations should contact the Agency of Commerce and Community Development via this online form.
This information was updated most recently on Friday, April 9, 2021.