Starting Saturday, people in Vermont must wear face masks or face coverings in public spaces — both indoors and outdoors — where physical distancing is not possible.
Gov. Phil Scott announced the mandate last week, as he said modeling showed another coronavirus outbreak may hit the Northeast. It applies to anyone over 2 years old at locations like grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, hardware stores, as well as any place that is open to the public.
People who are eating or drinking, or exercising outside, don't have to wear masks during those activities, and anyone with breathing problems or who has a medical or behavioral reason for not wearing one is exempted.
"Please, help us out," Scott said last week. "Let's not make the news with screaming matches caught on video. Let's do things the Vermont way by being role models and leading by example."
The move eliminates a patchwork where certain towns and retailers required masks but others didn't.
Scott had resisted mandating masks, preferring to encourage mask use, but said when he announced the new policy he had serious concerns about COVID-19 spikes in the South and West, as well as other hotspots closer to home.
As of Friday, Vermont reported 57 coronavirus-related deaths and 1,414 cases.