Vermont is expanding their trusted travel map, a list of communities that have been approved to visit the state without a two week quarantine.
Counties in other states must meet a threshold of less than 400 active cases per million and be within driving distance of Vermont in order to qualify. Beginning July 1, counties in states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Ohio and Washington D.C. will be allowed to visit without a quarantine requirement.
"I want to be clear, this does not open up travel for the whole state. It’s a county by county threshold," Gov. Phil Scott said Friday. "It doesn’t mean they can fly or take a bus here without quarantine. It's only if they drive here."
Currently, approximately 19 million people can travel to Vermont free of quarantine requirements currently. The regional population is about 85 million, according to state officials.
The move is part of an effort from Scott to stimulate Vermont's hospitality industry. State data shows approximately 10,000 hospitality workers are out of the job, representing about a quarter of those covered by unemployment insurance.
"This isn’t just about businesses and tax revenue they generate. It's about employee livelihood," Scott said. "This is an important step to take as our own data shows our low community spread and, most importantly, very few and often zero hospitalizations and deaths."
Scott also gave a brief update Friday about new guidance for playgrounds, which covers many of the same key practices officials are asking of every day residents. Guidance includes staying six feet apart, frequent hand washing, staying home when sick and wearing a mask.
“I want to remind everyone how important it is to continue to follow our health guidance,” Scott said. “We all have a role to play. The more closely we follow the health guidance and the more self-responsibility we take, the better we can control the spread and the more we will be able to restart the economy and social interactions that are critical to our way of life.”
On Friday, Vermont reported 56 new cases of the coronavirus, 35 of which were related to localized outbreaks. Both the three and seven-day viral growth rate remains under 1 percent. While the percentage of new positive tests has increased to around three percent because of specific clusters of outbreaks in the state, the rolling average is around 1.28 percent, officials said.
Scott's press conference comes as Vermont state parks open Friday.
While some amenities have been scaled back a bit due to the virus, parks will offer day-use activities, tent and recreation vehicle sites and lean-to camping, said Lindsay Kurrle, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The state parks have a modernized web-based system for making reservations, she said.
At the governor’s regular press briefing Wednesday, Health Commissioner Mark Levine and others reminded Vermonters to stay healthy and protect those vulnerable to serious illness this summer by wearing facial coverings around others when possible, staying 6 feet apart, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick.
“As the state reopens and more of us are outside being active, seeing family and friends, gathered in groups at events like barbecues, on the lake, or even at a protest, the risk of transmission does increase,” Levine said. “But as I said before, please do some of these things; your soul needs it. But choose wisely, understanding what activity for you in your particular circumstances is low risk and what may mean assuming too much risk.”
He said Vermonters need to continue to protect themselves until there is a vaccine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.