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Vermont rolls out welcoming mat to more out-of-state visitors

A map of counties that meet Vermont’s requirements is updated weekly.

In a bid to help Vermont’s struggling tourism businesses, some of which make most of their money in the summer and fall, the state is opening the borders to travelers from as far away as Ohio, Virginia and the District of Columbia without quarantining.
“There are now about 19 million people who can travel to Vermont free of a quarantine requirement,” said Mike Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, who has been handling COVID-19 modeling for the state since the crisis began earlier this year.
“We anticipate seeing continued improvement over the weeks ahead, with many more visitors being allowed to enter Vermont without the quarantine,” Pieciak said.
Vermont in early June started opening up to visitors from “safe” Northeast counties, those with fewer than 400 cases of COVID-19 per million residents. Previously, anyone visiting Vermont from any state for non-essential purposes was required to undergo a two-week quarantine.
As of July 1, the state will begin to open for quarantine-free travel to visitors from counties with low rates of the virus in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia and Washington, D.C. A map of counties that meet Vermont’s requirements is updated weekly on the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s website.
Making it possible for tourists to visit without the quarantine is critical for the state’s tourism businesses, said Gov. Phil Scott at his regular COVID-19 press conference on Friday, June 26.
Many popular tourist attractions, such as the Ben & Jerry’s visitors center in Waterbury, are closed this summer. Some lodging businesses and restaurants say occupancy and visitor limits make it impossible for them to operate at a profit. Scott said June 26 that 10,000 Vermonters who work in the hospitality industry are out of work — about a quarter of the people who are covered by the state’s traditional unemployment insurance.
“Even though we’ve opened up restaurants and lodging to 50% and allow travel without quarantine from counties in the Northeast with a low case count, these businesses still aren’t bringing in enough customers to make ends meet,” he said. “This isn’t just about the businesses, and the tax revenue, they generate. It’s about their employees’ livelihood.”
 

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