Vermont Eyes Opening to Out-of-State Travelers as Coronavirus Rates Fall

Gov. Phil Scott also said he hopes to announce plans to allow indoor dining at restaurants "in the not-too-distant future."

Vermont is studying how and when it can open to tourism from neighboring states as coronavirus rates fall in places such as Massachusetts and New York, Gov. Phil Scott said Wednesday.

In a news briefing, Scott said his administration was developing benchmarks to determine when it would be "smart and safe" to welcome back out-of-state travelers.

"I know how incredibly important it is to our tourism and hospitality sectors," he said.

Scott said he hoped to open to tourism "a little at a time" to prevent an influx of travelers, adding he didn't want to create an "us-versus-them" dynamic with other states.

Health officials have reported 971 cases of COVID-19 in Vermont, including 54 fatalities. That's sharply lower than neighboring states such as Massachusetts, which had reported 93,693 cases and 6,473 deaths as of Tuesday.

Under Scott's current order, those traveling to Vermont from out of state for anything other than an essential purposes are required to quarantine for 14 days.

The remarks come as Vermont allows increased economic activities as coronavirus cases fall.

Scott said he hoped to provide more information on the state's plan to reopen close-contact businesses such as cleaning services and gyms on Friday.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott ordered all summer fairs and festivals canceled, but he also allowed some close-contact businesses to begin reopening.

He added that he would likely announce plans to increase the maximum number of people allowed to congregate from 10 to 25 by the end of the week. The state will announce guidelines for overnight youth camps in the coming days, he said.

Scott said he hoped to announce plans to allow indoor dining at restaurants "in the not-too-distant future."

Non-essential retail stores were allowed to reopen Monday in Vermont with limitations.

In a press conference last week, the Republican governor announced that certain close-contact services would be allowed to resume but that fairs and festivals are canceled for the summer.

Churches and places of worship resumed at 25% capacity Saturday. Salons and barber shops prepare to reopen on Friday, with health and safety guidelines.

Scott's goal is to have the entire state reopen at about 25% capacity by June 1.

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