State officials have been walking the line for months between keeping the hospitality industry alive, and keeping travelers from carrying Covid-19 into the state.
“It really is not incumbent upon a superintendent to make Solomon-like decisions for families,” one superintendent said.
The federally funded effort comes as Thanksgiving-week visits to Vermont’s busiest rest area fell by almost 80%.
“Our numbers are down, but that’s OK. If they would have been at the 10,000 number, I would have been an absolute mess, knowing that many people were coming and going,” said airport director Gene Richards.
Officials announced the new measure amid a surge in Covid cases and multiple outbreaks spreading across the state.
With the Covid-19 rate surging in the U.S. and around the world, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said there’s no need to panic in Vermont, but “it’s time for us to focus on the things we can control.”
Lodging proprietors say reservations are down for the Thanksgiving weekend, as most would-be visitors are from high-case counties whose residents are not allowed in Vermont without quarantining.
Bookings are way down and hotel and inn owners are hoping for more visitors this fall and winter.
On July 1, Vermont will open the borders to quarantine-free travel for visitors from counties with low rates of Covid-19 as far away as Ohio and Virginia.
All travel from Europe is not suspended. The ban doesn’t cover all of Europe and has numerous exemptions.
“Every country, for better or worse, is looking out for itself and so that means that unexpected travel restrictions are entirely possible,” an expert said of the new travel restrictions.