Innkeepers are a busy bunch. To save you time, VLA attends Governor Scott’s Covid-19 Press Conferences and takes notes for you. Below is the summary from 6.8.21.
Governor Scott said that Vermont currently has the lowest Covid-19 case rates in six months, and vaccination efforts are focusing on pop-up walk-in clinics, rather than mass vaccination sites. As of today, 79.4% of eligible Vermonters are vaccinated, just over 3000 more people need to be vaccinated to reach the 80% threshold when all remaining restrictions will be lifted. Governor Scott said that he expects that to happen in the next week.

• Governor Scott –
o Lowest case levels in 6 months. Moving towards pop up walk up clinics, rather than mass vaccination sites.
o CDC encouraging 12-17 year olds to get vaccinated.
• Commissioner Pieciak –
o Vermont safest state in country.
o 61 new cases – 30 fewer than last week.
o Lowest hospitalization rate in country.
o Forecast that vaccine has saved 268 deaths in Vermont.
o Vermonters moving around at pre-pandemic levels.
o Hotels visits down 19% from pre-pandemic during Memorial Day weekend, but up 268% from last year.
o 79.4% of eligible Vermonters vaccinated. Hope to reach 80% this week.
o Other New England states have downward case rate trends.
o Hopeful that US/Canadian border will open in the near future.
• Secretary Smith –
o Just need 3190 more Vermonters to get vaccinated to reach 80%.
o 18+ – 82.9%
o Many walk-in spots available.
o Free access to many state parks – with vaccines available this weekend.
• Commissioner Schirling –
o Cautions about swimming in natural areas. Rescue this weekend at Huntington Gorge.
• Commissioner Levine –
o Real world studies of vaccine show efficacy and safety. No long term side effects.
o Concern about summer surge in states with low vaccination rates.
o Urges vaccination for 12-17 year olds. Severe disease can occur in any age group.
• Questions:
o Has work search requirement changed anything? Harrington – Decrease in claims and claims paid out – but attributed also to fraud mitigation efforts. Too soon to tell impact on labor shortage. Employers still struggling to find talented workers.
o Median age of cases is 30 years old.
o Watching revenue data as to how economy is doing. Also monitoring traffic in and out of state, and labor situation. Will be interesting to see how many people go back to in person work.
o Have not seen any word back from Biden administration from letter re: Canadian border opening.
o Mail in voting worthwhile for Vermont – would like to see it expanded in some way. Would like to see more participation in local elections. Will have to continue to monitor.
o Motel voucher program – needed to be wound down in a compassionate way after restrictions on access to program eliminated. Have extended deadline on program, expanded shelter capacity, access to those who are disabled. Will have 900-1000 left in motel housing after high of 2600.
o Work search requirement still applies if applicant find child care – unless there’s a specific covid related reason.
o Is 80% goal arbitrary since we already reached the 70% 18+? Scott- Any number is arbitrary – but think it’s an attainable goal and good way to attract visitors and new residents as a safe and healthy state.
o Will Vermont be participating in Apple program that allows you to scan official ID into phone for use? Scott- The first that I’ve heard of it. We’ll see what happens – obviously we want to do all that we can do to keep up with what’s on the horizon. I don’t know what would preclude that from using this new technology…
o Any thing that VT can do that Flowers won’t be opening the Koffee Kup bakeries? Scott- Frustrating. Within the receiverships rights to get the best deal possible. Hoping there’s still an opportunity to open the bakeries. Flowers did not apply for VEGI.
o Cancer screenings missed – concern about increased cancer cases. Dr. Levine – we’ll be doing more messages about prevention.
o Been looking at how we will unwind State of Emergency so there aren’t unintended consequences. Might have to expand State of Emergency if we’re not at 80% by then.
o NH Liquor and Wine outlets opening near VT border – VT Liquor store owners concerned. Scott – Have made great strides in competing with NH, but will have to work harder.
o State offices will be coming up with productivity measures for those who continue to work remotely.
o Levine – Not hearing about long term effects of the vaccine.
o AOE will be reviewing School District opening plans.
o Levine – On new Alzheimer drug – approval controversial. Evidence that it’s effective and also evidence to the contrary. Also very expensive. Patient would have to be diagnosed. But new on scene and need to look into it further.