Vermont governor calls special session for local mask rules

November 18, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is calling legislators into a special session on Monday in order to pass legislation giving municipalities the authority to put in place temporary mask mandates.

Scott has faced mounting pressure from legislative leadership to do more to address the surge in COVID-19 cases. He said he offered this path as a compromise and is opposed to statewide mandates and restrictions at this time in the pandemic.

The governor and his team will continue to encourage Vermonters to get vaccinated, get their booster shot, and while hospitals continue to be strained, wear masks indoors and make smart choices about gatherings, Scott’s office said Wednesday.

On Thursday, Vermont reported 517 new COVID-19 cases, the state’s second highest daily number since the start of the pandemic. Two additional deaths were reported and a total of 62 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. The governor has said if the number of hospitalizations increases over 80, it would be a significant strain on the system.