Vermont governor bans 'multi-household social gatherings' in new coronavirus crackdown

Ban applies to indoor and outdoor gatherings, holiday get-togethers & other celebrations

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Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Friday announced a temporary ban on “public and private multi-household gatherings,” another shutdown of bars and clubs as well as other new restrictions following renewed concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

“We now have no choice but to restrict social gatherings, whether in homes, bars or a parking lot after a game,” he said. “So, starting today, multi-household gatherings, both inside and outside, whether in public or private spaces, are prohibited.”

The ban applies to both indoor and outdoor gatherings, holiday get-togethers and other celebrations. The only exception is that individuals who live alone can visit other members of their immediate family who reside elsewhere.

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Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott speaks to reporters after voting on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in his hometown of Berlin, Vt.  (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott speaks to reporters after voting on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in his hometown of Berlin, Vt.  (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

“We’ve had tremendous success thanks to the hard work of Vermonters, but we are at a pivotal moment,” Scott said during a news conference. “We have an opportunity right now to get our arms around this record growth and return to the case stability we’ve grown accustomed to, but we all have to step up and recommit to following all current health guidance and to limit our contacts as much as possible. At the same time, the state is actively expanding testing and contact tracing protocols, so we are even better positioned to hunt this virus down and stop it in its tracks.”

The governor’s office said that 71% of new cases in October and early November had been connected to private parties and other social gatherings.

The ban goes into effect Saturday at 10 p.m.

Other new restrictions include the shuttering of bars and social clubs for in-person service and suspension of most recreational sports (other than sanctioned school sports). There wil also be new contact-tracing and testing requirements.

And Scott is ordering a 10 p.m. curfew for in-person dining, as well as a ban on sitting with people from a different household at restaurants.

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Additionally, the state is re-implementing telework policies.

The move comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented a 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants in his state and set a cap on private, at-home gatherings at 10 people ahead of the holidays.