VDH COVID-19 Update: Mask mandate, retailers allowed 50 percent capacity

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VDH COVID-19 Update: Mask mandate, retailers allowed 50 percent capacity

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 5:20pm -- tim

Daily Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

July 31, 2020

New information is in red and bold.

This update is available online at healthvermont.gov/covid19

Click the “See the Latest Update” button.

Please visit the Vermont Department of Health’s COVID-19 web and data pages healthvermont.gov/covid19

Vermont’s COVID-19 progress will be supported by mask requirement

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said at a press conference Friday that Vermont continues to maintain an overall low rate of new positive cases, but only because of the cooperation and sacrifices Vermonters have made to protect themselves and others from this coronavirus.

“While we are hopeful that together, our efforts will keep us from experiencing more illness and deaths in the future, we must recognize that our standing is fragile.” Dr. Levine said. “We must be prepared for the fact that the virus is not going away anytime soon.”

As cases rise nationally and in the Northeast, vacation travel continues, college students begin to return, and schools open, the timing of the state’s new mask mandate is “of real relevance today,” he added.

As of tomorrow, August 1, people are required to wear a face mask or covering in public spaces any time it is not possible to keep a 6-foot distance from others who are not part your household. This includes both indoor and outdoor public spaces and group living settings (for example, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, apartment and condo complexes).

People who are not required to use masks include those exercising vigorously, those under the age of 2, those with a medical or developmental condition that is complicated by a facial covering, and those with difficulty breathing.

To support the mask mandate, the state is making available 200,000 free masks across the state, mostly through local emergency management offices and fire departments.

Governor Phil Scott also announced Friday that retail operations can now operate at 50% capacity. Get more information from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

Six Vermonters who are incarcerated test positive upon returning from out of state

Dr. Levine also gave an update on six Vermonters who had been incarcerated at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi that tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning to the state. The six arrived at Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland by van transport on Tuesday, July 28.

Following Department of Corrections protocol, all were immediately placed in medical quarantine and tested for the coronavirus. The Health Department is reaching out to close contacts to provide appropriate health guidance.

Another Vermonter who remains incarcerated in Mississippi tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week, Dr. Levine said. This person was housed in the same unit as three of those who returned this week.

The department has instructed officials at Tallahatchie County Correctional to test those Vermonters who are still incarcerated in that facility.

“Our strong and strict protocols to keep the virus out of our prisons helped ensure that no other people in state custody at Marble Valley, and no additional staff, were in contact with these individuals,” Dr. Levine said.

Case Information

Current COVID-19 Activity in Vermont

As of 12 p.m. on July 30, 2020





Total cases*



(8 new)


Currently hospitalized




Hospitalized under investigation




Total people recovered








People tested




Travelers monitored




Contacts monitored




People completed monitoring




* Includes testing conducted at the Health Department Laboratory, commercial labs and other public health labs.

+ Death occurring in persons known to have COVID-19. Death certificate may be pending.

Hospitalization data is provided by the Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition and is based on hospitals updating this information.

Find more at the data dashboard: healthvermont.gov/currentactivity.

Getting Tested for COVID-19

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Use CDC’s Self-Checker tool to find out if you should be tested.

If you think you may need to get tested, talk with your health care provider, or call 2-1-1 if you don’t have a provider and need to be connected to care.

If you do need testing, look for a clinic or pharmacy that offers testing near you, or register at a pop-up location.

See how to get tested and to make an appointment.

Guidance for Vermonters

If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the hospital.

If you are having even mild symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider.

Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet and wear a mask when near others.

Get the information you need at our Frequently Asked Questions.

Traveler Information

With case numbers up in states across the country, it is important to have the latest information about travel to Vermont, including about quarantine requirements, testing, and to sign up with Sara Alert for symptom check reminders.

As counties from Ohio to Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic and even in New England begin to show an increase in COVID-19 cases, the number of potential people who can travel to Vermont without quarantine has fallen from 19 million to just 4.8 million in just over a month.

Take Care of Your Emotional and Mental Health

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs emotional support, help is available 24/7:

Get self-help tips and connect to mental health services at COVID Support VT.

For more information: