Coronavirus in Vt.: No on-Site Consumption at Restaurants or Bars; Schools to Close

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Vermont officials took action Monday to combat the spread of coronavirus, announcing that all restaurants must close or offer takeout or delivery only.

On-site consumption will not be allowed at restaurants or bars after 2 p.m. Tuesday. The measure will be in effect until April 6, but it could be extended.

Gov. Phil Scott also restricted the sizes of mass gatherings to under 50 people, or to 50% of a facility's occupancy.

The changes come as an update to the executive order Scott issued Friday when a state of emergency was declared.

Four new cases in the state were announced earlier Monday. Health officials urged residents to practice social distancing as they announced four new cases of the novel coronavirus in the state.

In a news conference, health commissioner Mark Levine said three of the four new cases were transmitted from person to person and not related travel. The new cases reported Monday brought the state's total to 12.

"We believe we are in the early stages of community transmission," Levine said.

The new numbers came a day after the state announced it was closing schools and canceling all related activities by the end of the day Tuesday until April 6.

Speaking at the news conference, Scott urged residents to practice social distancing in order to "slow the spread down and bend the curve" of the novel coronavirus, adding that the possibility remained that schools could be closed past April 6.

Scott said schools and educators were preparing plans for students to work at home and engage in remote learning. He added that plans were being created to provide educational services for students with special needs and meals for students who need them.

The Vermont Supreme Court also said Monday that all non-emergency superior court hearings would be suspended until at least April 15. An emergency order gives exceptions for "high-priority cases that must be heard."

The state had tested 415 people for the disease as of Monday.

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