Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Vermont, US, issue quarantine order in addition to stay-at-home and business closure directives through at least April 15.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Rutland, Vermont

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 03:05 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Apr 2020 08:00 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Vermont (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 15
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Officials in the state of Vermont have instructed visitors from the states of Florida and Louisiana, as well as the cities of Chicago, Detroit, and New York City, not to enter Vermont. The order, which also reiterates that the residents of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York should remain in their states in compliance with federal guidelines, is part of Vermont's efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Additionally, the directive requires all persons arriving in Vermont for nonessential reasons to immediately self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. The order also instructs hotels and other lodging providers to cease making new reservations or extending existing ones to reduce the number of travelers to the state. Authorities may extend the directive, which will expire April 15.

The order is in addition to previously announced measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All nonessential businesses remain under an order to cease in-person operations. Essential businesses that are allowed to operate include pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, healthcare facilities, law enforcement, and emergency operations, as well as companies in the agriculture, manufacturing, and media industries. Authorities have banned seated dining in restaurants; food outlets may remain open only for pickup or delivery services. Nonessential businesses can only maintain their operations with employees working from home. Officials have directed all companies to implement work-from-home policies to the greatest extent possible.

Directives are also in place for residents to remain inside their homes except to conduct essential activities through at least April 15. People can leave their residence to purchase essential goods, attend to a medical emergency, and care for a family member or friend in need. Residents are also permitted to perform outdoor activities such as walking so long as they do not gather in groups and maintain a two-meter (six-foot) distance from others.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the authorities in Vermont are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

State of Vermont - COVID-19 Updates: healthvermont.gov

State of Vermont - Executive orders: governor.vermont.gov