Weinberger proposes Burlington mask mandate, exempts businesses with vaccine requirements

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Weinberger proposes Burlington mask mandate, exempts businesses with vaccine requirements

Tue, 11/23/2021 - 4:27pm -- tim

New Ordinance would require masks or proof of vaccination in indoor public spaces  

Vermont Business Magazine Today, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announced he will bring forward a Mask Ordinance that would require facial coverings in indoor public settings except for in situations where all employees and customers are verified to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The ordinance will be before the City Council for approval at a special meeting on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. On Monday the Vermont Legislature passed a local-option mask bill, which was signed into law by Governor Scott today. The law lasts through April 30, 2022.

“We have reached a confusing and uncertain moment in our long battle against the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “On the one hand, vaccinations have made the great majority of us far safer than we were at the beginning of 2021. On the other hand, we have repeatedly seen record numbers of cases here in Vermont in recent weeks, bucking the national trends in a concerning way. In drafting this new mask mandate the City team has sought to strike a balance with a structure that both protects public health and supports the local businesses we are asking to partner with us on the frontline of our community pandemic response.”   

“We know that vaccination is our best line of defense against further community spread of COVID-19, and masking indoors during periods of high transmission when the vaccination status of those around you is unknown adds an important layer of protection,” said the Planning Director and COVID-Response Leader Meagan Tuttle. “We all want to see the risk of community transmission diminish as quickly as possible to protect our most vulnerable from serious illness, and so  we can return to fully and confidently to community life.” 

The Mayor’s proposed mask mandate would

  • Exempt all businesses and public institutions that affirmatively verify the vaccination of all patrons and require employees to be vaccinated or take regular COVID-19 tests.  
  • Exempt vaccinated workers who do not interact with members of the public. 
  • Exempt places of worship and schools within the Burlington School District (which follow guidance from the Vermont Agency of Education). 
  • Include all public transportation including buses, trains, taxis, and ride shares.  
  • Be reconsidered every 30 days for the following 30-day period and could be suspended if the risk of COVID-19 transmission in Chittenden County has dropped to a “moderate” level as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 
  • Sunset no later than 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2022, consistent with State Act. 1.  

Source: Burlington 11.23.2021. Mayor Miro Weinberger