Vermont reaches 80% vaccination goal; Scott declares full reopening of state

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont has reached its 80% COVID vaccination goal. Gov. Phil Scott made the announcement Monday morning and said, as promised, he is dropping all existing COVID restrictions.

The pandemic milestone means masking, social distancing, distance between tables, Plexiglass barriers and other health measures are now recommended, not required. But municipalities and businesses can place restrictions if they choose to do so.

However, masking will remain in a number of settings like schools, hospitals, prisons and public transportation, to name a few.

The state of emergency will formally end at midnight June 15.

The governor said that as of Monday, 80.2% of the state’s eligible population-- those 12 and over-- have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. And nearly 82% of the population over 18 has been vaccinated.

Vermont is the first state in the nation to reach an 80% vaccination rate.

“Now that we have hit 80%, as promised and effective immediately, I am lifting all remaining state pandemic restrictions and the State of Emergency will formally end at midnight June 15,” Scott, R-Vermont, announced at the news briefing Monday. “And here’s why: Because it’s safe to do so. It is safe because Vermonters have done their part to keep spread of the virus low throughout the pandemic and stepped up to get vaccinated. In fact, no state in the nation is in a better or safer position to do this than we are.”

The governor called the state’s vaccine rollout the most effective in the nation and Vermont is a global leader, saying, “Our state has shown the world what is possible.”

Scott thanked his team and he thanked Vermonters, saying the unity of the people of Vermont is the main reason for our success. He said he is very proud.

Based on the success of the state’s vaccination drive and falling virus counts, the governor last month made the challenge that when the state reached the 80% goal, he would drop restrictions ahead of the original July 4 date outlined in the Vermont Forward reopening plan.

During Monday’s briefing, the governor reflected on the last 15 months, noting it was 464 days ago Vermont recorded its first case of COVID-19. He called COVID a once-in-a-century global crisis.

Scott said even as we hit this milestone, Vermont’s work isn’t done. He says we’ll be ready to rollout vaccines to Vermonters under 12.

Good job Vermont. Now celebrate with some ice cream. :ice_cream:

They’ve got a low population working in their favor, the entire state of Vermont (density of 68 people per square mile) has fewer people than the city of Boston alone (13,841 people per square mile)! A good milestone regardless!