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Vt. Gov. Loosens DMV Restrictions, Looks to Reopen Indoor Dining

Gov. Phil Scott also addressed protests in Vermont over the death of George Floyd in a press conference

Vermont is allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to administer driver's permits and license tests, Gov. Phil Scott announced Monday, adding that outdoor dining may soon resume as the state slowly eases coronavirus restrictions.

Scott said in a news conference that he would detail additional moves for reopening later this week, which, if the data continues to move in right direction, includes allowing indoor dining "soon."

Scott also said he hopes to continue to ramp up the hospitality industry in the weeks ahead.

Standard learner's permit tests will be made available on the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicle's website. Those who pass will receive their permit by mail. This does not apply to commercial or motorcycle licenses.

Road tests will resume by appointment only with no more than two people in a car with masks required.

Meanwhile, after peaceful protests in Vermont over the death of George Floyd, public health officials urged people to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing when participating in demonstrations.

Scott said the officers involved in the incident in Minneapolis that led to Floyd's death should be charged for murder and "held fully accountable."

"Mr. Floyd’s death is a heartbreaking tragedy," Scott said. "We have much more work to do be a better country and a better people. My heart goes out to his family and the Minneapolis community that is suffering deeply right now."

The governor noted that Vermont is in the process of establishing a Racial Equity Task Force and that he would have an update on when he will make appointments next week. The group is charged with looking at equity programs, examining disparities of COVID-19 infection and death rates among minorities and analyzing state and federal law on hate speech."

"But let's be honest, a task force is not the cure all for what ails us. It’s going to take some soul searching," Scott said. "We cannot continue to treat racism, and examples like the one in Minneapolis, like an uncomfortable and rare event because it's not an isolated incident."

Vermont courthouses are resuming more routine operations Monday for the first time since mid-March, but people will be required to wear masks and answer questions about their health.

Courtroom staff have been instructed to maintain social distancing among the members of the public.

“I think it’s going to look different in every courtroom because even if there’s a capacity for, let’s say, 25, not all of our courtrooms will allow for that,” said Vermont chief superior Judge Brian Grearson.

The reopenings of the courts comes as a number of additional sectors of the Vermont economy are reopening. Other areas opening include massage therapists, indoor gymnasiums, cleaning services and some other close contact businesses that will be able to resume limited operations.

Vermont on Sunday reported a total of 981 positive cases and 55 deaths from COVID-19 so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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