By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
MONTPELIER -- Gov. Phil Scott announced today that he is rescinding all state COVID-19 restrictions after learning that 80 percent of Vermont's eligible population -- those age 12 and up -- have received at least one vaccination shot.
Vermont is the first state in the nation to hit 80 percent.
During the special press conference Scott also stated Vermont’s State of Emergency, slated to expire on Tuesday, will not be renewed.
Scott had promised a few weeks ago that once Vermont hit 80 percent that the state handcuffs would come off. In recent days the number of vaccinations inched slowly upward as the state offered dozens of sites for the free shots.
“Now that we have hit 80 percent, 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 said.
"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 three-term governor said.
Under questioning from The Islander, Scott said it was unclear when the U.S.-Canadian international border would re-open. He did say that he expects his staff to provide good news during his regular Tuesday news conference about a major increase in the number of Canadians getting at least one shot.
Scott, who has deflected individual praise throughout his political career for bills and actions, again said it was a team effort. He listed a litany of people and groups that made the 80 percent happen.
But Scott also said there was no time for a champagne or a beer when he got the word Sunday night.
"We still have a lot of work to do," Scott said. "Our world is still under siege."
The Islander will have more in this week's print edition about the state restrictions being lifted.