By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
MONTPELIER -- Gov. Phil Scott’s new directive ordering Vermonters to remain in their homes as the state deals with the escalating COVID-19 pandemic is now in effect.
The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order , announced on Tuesday, went into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
There are a limited number of essential jobs that permit workers to continue to work in the community. They include police, fire, rescue, and news media along with those working for grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores, and for car repair centers etc.
Vermonters asked to remain in their homes are allowed outside to get fresh air or to walk a dog, Scott said during a news conference. However the 6-foot minimum buffer between people needs to be honored while outside, Scott said.
The steps within the Executive Order are expected to help slow the spread of the virus and protect people who are more vulnerable, the Governor said.
The directive comes as the number of Vermont deaths increased from 7 to 8 as of Wednesday afternoon.
The number of positive tests also are up. They increased from 95 to 123 over the previous 24-hours.
Grand Isle and Essex Counties remain as the only areas that have no positive tests.
Chittenden County remains in the lead with 55 cases, while Windsor County with 17 is second. Bennington County has 11 and Addison has nine, the Vermont Health Department said.
The number of monitored cases went up from 339 to 342, while the completed cases went from 316 to 317.
During the morning news conference, both Gov. Scott and Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling said the state will be looking for voluntary compliance in seeking people to stay home.
Schirling said police agencies will still need a justified reason for stopping a motor vehicle. Just being on the road would not be enough reason to stop a motorist.
The state also is encouraging to connect with each other through technology, reading books, playing games and finding hobbies. We’re all in this together.