Protect Yourself & Others

Protect Yourself & Others

man and boy washing hands

Vermont's high vaccination rates mean the vast majority of Vermonters are protected from the virus and keep the virus from spreading to others. With high vaccination rates and low number of COVID-19 cases, it’s safe for most Vermonters to return to the activities they did before the pandemic. There are no state COVID-19 restrictions or requirements for Vermonters or visitors to follow.

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If you or your children are not vaccinated or only had your first dose, you can choose to follow the prevention steps. 

If you are fully vaccinated (it's been 14 days since your final shot), you can go back to doing all the activities you did before the pandemic. 

There are still things we can all do to reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. We can help protect children under the age of 12 and people who are not able to get the vaccine due to a weakened immune system or other health condition and anyone else not vaccinated by taking prevention steps.

Prevention Steps

Get the COVID-19 vaccine

Why – The vaccine is the best way to keep from getting and spreading COVID-19. Vaccines help your body fight off the virus and keep you from getting sick. The more people who get vaccinated, the faster we can end the COVID-19 pandemic. When you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine after being in close contact with someone with COVID-19. You also do not need to wear a mask or stay 6 feet apart, except in certain situations or settings (for example, in a health care setting or long-term care facility, or if a mask is required at a business). 

How – All three vaccines are safe and are working in the real world. Studies show them to be more than 90% effective in real-world settings in preventing mild and severe disease, hospitalization and death. The vaccines have also proven to be effective against the COVID-19 variants that are currently circulating. Read more about the vaccines available in Vermont.

When – All people 12 years and older can find a location to get a vaccine. Vaccine trials are underway for children under 12. Learn more about vaccines for children.

TIP Find out where to get a vaccine at

Things You Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccines
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Find out About COVID-19 Vaccines in Vermont

Stay home if you are sick

Why – Staying home keeps illness from spreading to others.

How – Cancel your plans and stay home from work. Let your friends, family or neighbors know you are not feeling well. Ask if they are willing to drop off food, prescriptions or other things you need while you recover.

When – Do this any time you have symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses.

TIP Make a plan now for what to do if you or someone in your house gets sick.

Wash your hands

Why – Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer rinses off or kills germs you may have on them. This lowers your risk of getting infected with a virus if you touch your face, nose or eyes. If you are sick (even if you don’t know yet), washing your hands lowers the risk of spreading your germs to others when touching shared surfaces, such as doorknobs.

How – Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

When – Any time, but it is especially important after going to the bathroom, after being in a public place, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Also wash your hands any times they are visibly dirty.

TIP Keep hand sanitizer in your car, bag or attach a travel-sized, clip-on sanitizer to your key chain so you always have it with you.

Take care when getting together

Why – Even though more than 80% of eligible Vermonters are vaccinated, there are still some people who cannot get vaccinated. We need to continue to do all we can to help protect children under the age of 12 and people who are not able to get the vaccine due to a weakened immune system or other health condition – particularly if you are unvaccinated.

If you are unvaccinated, you should try to maintain physical distance. Being closer than 6 feet from the person with COVID-19, you are most likely to get infected. Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads or learn how you can get vaccinated.

How – If you are at an indoor gathering or event and are not fully vaccinated, wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart helps protect anyone who is unvaccinated, at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or lives with someone who is at increased risk. 

When – If you are not fully vaccinated, continue to take care when getting together with friends and family or when you are in a crowd.

Stay at least 6 feet apart

Why – COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. Unvaccinated people who are closer than 6 feet (2 meters) from the person with COVID-19 are most likely to get infected. Keeping a physical distance of at least 6 feet lowers the risk of these droplets and particles reaching you and others when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes sings, talks or breathes.

Some people with COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing it. It can take as many as 14 days to have symptoms and some people never develop symptoms at all.

How –  Choose open areas where there is room to spread out. This is typically easier if there are fewer people and you are outdoors. 

When – If you're gathering with people indoors and are not fully vaccinated, staying 6 feet apart and wearing a mask helps protect anyone who is unvaccinated, at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or lives with someone who is at increased risk. Even when you are wearing masks, it is important to keep a distance.

Wear a mask if needed

Why – If you are not fully vaccinated, wearing a mask helps protect you and the people around you from getting or spreading COVID-19. A mask helps contain your respiratory droplets and can keep them from reaching other people. COVID-19 can spread even if a person does not have any symptoms.

How – Bring a mask with you when you leave home. 

How to Select, Clean and Wear Your Face Mask (CDC)
Improve How Your Mask Protects You (CDC)

When – You may be required to wear a mask in some settings, even if you are fully vaccinated. For now, everyone should wear a mask in health care settings and long-term care facilities. Everyone is required to wear a mask on public transportation, even if you are fully vaccinated.

For schools, child care, summer camps and out-of-school programs, the Health Department recommends that unvaccinated people 2 years and older wear masks when inside this summer.

If you're gathering with people indoors and are not fully vaccinated, wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart helps protect anyone who is unvaccinated, at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or lives with someone who is at increased risk. Read the CDC's tips on how to carpool safely.

TIP Store your face masks with your keys, phone or wallet so it's easier to remember, keep an extra in your coat pocket, bag or car just in case.

Wear a Face Mask to Keep COVID-19 from Spreading
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Guidance on Mask Exemptions in Children and Adolescents

Consider your travel plans

Why – The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

How – Except for international travel, travel no longer requires testing or quarantine. Federal regulations require masks on public transportation

When – If you travel to places with a lot of virus circulating or spend time with people who do, consider getting tested and following prevention steps, even if you are vaccinated.

If you are traveling to Canada, check CDC’s travel notices for Canada and read Canada’s entry restrictions.

If you are planning on traveling internationally, check the current list of Travel Advisories by country from the U.S. Department of State, and visit for detailed information on safe international travel. See the CDC's guidance on testing and international travel.

Visit the CDC’s travel page for travel recommendations by country and see the FAQs for Travelers.

For all international travel, follow the CDC’s after travel guidance when you return to the U.S.


In This Section

Find out about who may be at more risk for severe illness, or more vulnerable to getting sick. Learn about precautions.

Navigating the new norms or rules in our professional and personal lives can be challenging, and our responses to it are varied.