Covid: the Gift that Keeps on Giving

The state house, Montpelier, VT. 
Photo Credit:

The state house, Montpelier, VT. Photo Credit:

Felicity Gregware, Contributor

Friday the 13th was not a lucky day for Vermonters.  Gov. Phil Scott’s press conference was a reality check and a warning. The Covid epidemic is not over.  According to, there has been a spike in Covid infections in Vermont.  The upcoming holiday season and potential travel adds to the concern about Covid infections. 

Gov. Scott’s press conference on Nov. 13 followed Covid daily case counts of 72 reported on Wednesday, 109 reported on Thursday and 84 on Friday, as well as an increase in hospitalizations in Vermont.  In his press conference, Scott said, “Though we’re not seeing the alarming growth many of our neighbors are seeing, we have to take action to ensure we don’t get to that point. I want to be very clear that much of our case growth is tied to two factors: Vermonters traveling out of state, and Vermonters gathering in ways where distancing and masking break down. We need to act now to protect the vulnerable and to keep our schools and economy open.” 

In order to keep Covid rates under control, Scott has implemented guidelines for Vermonters. Effective Nov. 14, Vermont restaurants must close by 10 p.m. Bars and social clubs will be closed until further notice. Youth and adult sports that are not part of school are suspended until further notice. 

Among the more controversial guidelines are ones related to private gatherings.  Gov. Scott’s press release on Nov. 13 states, “Attendance at all public and private social gatherings, indoor and outdoor, including social gatherings incidental to ceremonies, holiday gatherings, parties and celebrations, shall be limited to participation with only members of a single household. Individuals who live alone may gather with members of their immediate family residing in a different household.” In other words, when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner next week, it will only be with the people you live with. 

According to BFA student Mariah Draper (22’), these guidelines are not good for everyone. Draper said, “I don’t think they are useful. Dine-in restaurants have to close at 10 and, personally, I don’t see how that is going to help. If there are people in the restaurant before 10, they can still catch Covid. Also, keeping people from seeing their family on Thanksgiving, or just any day, makes me upset because on Thanksgiving it is my 16th birthday, and I can’t even see my family unless we are wearing a mask and six-feet feet apart.” There are a lot of ups and downs for people with these new guidelines. They are not going to feel the same for everyone, but they are in our best interest. 

According to BFA teacher Gerald Bonsall, he thinks that the new guidelines are key. Bonsall said, “I think Vermonters have done a good job of keeping things under control.  We have managed to keep our numbers down and not overwhelm our healthcare system. And that is key.  I do believe that, when given the chance, most people will act responsibly.  Gov. Scott can take some credit for our success by putting reasonable guidelines in place. It didn’t take very long to see that opening schools was going to be a very important part of getting back on track. On the other hand, I think some of the new restrictions are too intrusive.  For example, not having any company for Thanksgiving or going for walks with a friend.  It is a tricky thing to tell people what they can and can’t do in their own homes.  We are walking a bit of a tightrope right now. There is a lot of fear. And fear can make people do funny things.” 

 A big priority is keeping schools open.  According to, Vermont schools have had very few cases of Covid, and Gov. Scott wants to keep it that way. “Since October 1st, 71% of the cases associated with an outbreak are associated with an outbreak from a private party or social gathering,” said Scott.  

Gov. Scott believes that now is the time to act. “We have an opportunity right now to get our arms around this record growth and return to the case stability we’ve grown accustomed to, but we all have to step up and recommit to following all current health guidance and to limit our contacts as much as possible. At the same time, the state is actively expanding testing and contact tracing protocols, so we are even better positioned to hunt this virus down and stop it in its tracks,” said Scott.

Covid is a worldwide issue that has not left Vermont untouched. We are not in a safety bubble. Gov. Scott has implemented new guidelines to ensure Vermonters have a safer tomorrow.