Before You go out
The type of community spread we are seeing in Vermont means there is a higher risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. Consider this increased risk when deciding to go out or make plans. Our decisions have an impact on our own health and safety, as well as our family, community, and Vermont.
When you go out to run errands, visit a trail or something else, a quick and easy way to measure the risk is to look for these three things:
- Six-Foot Spaces - Are people staying at least 6 feet away from each other?
- Masks on Faces – Are people wearing face masks?
- Uncrowded Places – Is there enough space to spread out? Is it outside or is there good air flow (open windows or doors)?
Any of these will lower the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. The more there are, the safer everyone will be!
To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Vermont, you may not gather with anyone you don’t live with unless you are fully vaccinated (which is 14 days after your final vaccine dose). People who are fully vaccinated may gather, in homes, with other people who are vaccinated. Gatherings of vaccinated people may also include one household that is not vaccinated.
- if you have gathered with people you don’t live with, you should quarantine. The Health Department strongly encourages getting tested as soon 2 days after gathering, and then again on day 7.
- if you had COVID-19 or received a positive antibody test, you are not allowed to gather with people you don’t live with.
- if you travel outside of Vermont, you must follow quarantine requirements.
- if you had COVID-19 or received a positive antibody test you still must quarantine when you travel or return to Vermont.
- if you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine when you travel or return to Vermont.
"The COVID Talk" Conversation Tips
When we are able to see our friends and family again, we know there is a lot to discuss beforehand to feel comfortable and stay safe. Here are four tips to help have “The COVID Talk” – a conversation to negotiate boundaries and establish expectations ahead of time.
Before you get together, start with an open and honest conversation about what everyone has been doing to stay healthy and how they have been socializing. Consider everyone’s worries, boundaries and possible COVID-19 exposure risk so you can all get on the same page.
- Would you be up for a walk this weekend? Let’s bring our masks.
- Would you be comfortable coming inside if we wear masks and keep at least 6-ft apart?
- Is it OK if my neighbor stops by while you’re over? I can also see them after you leave.
- I recently got together with family/friends. We were pretty safe but weren’t able to stay six feet apart the whole time. Do you still want to get together or wait for a couple of weeks to be safe?
- I really want to see you, but I’m nervous because I’m high risk for getting really sick from COVID-19. Can you tell me who else you been getting together with?
Using “I” instead of “you” statements helps people avoid feeling defensive or judged. In fact, blaming and shaming may actually increase push back and the likelihood of risk-taking behaviors. We recommend sharing what you’re comfortable with based on your own perspective instead of making demands of others.
- I’d feel better if we all keep our masks on if we need to go inside.
- I feel more comfortable meeting up with friends outside.
- I’ve only been visiting places without a lot of people to keep my risk lower.
- I would feel safer if we brought our own food, so we don’t have to touch the same serving utensils.
Share what level of risk works for you and why. It might be different for others. Some people feel comfortable taking on a moderate amount of risk in their lives. Others may not feel comfortable taking on any risk. Focusing on your own reasons for staying safe can help people to better understand and get on board.
- I have asthma so I’m not taking any chances getting COVID-19. I would love to see you, but I’m only comfortable getting together outside and keeping a distance.
- My kids are back in school. I don’t want to do anything that could increase our risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 and shutting down the classroom.
- I want to do everything I can to help keep COVID-19 cases low in Vermont so businesses can stay open.
- I can’t afford to get sick and not be able to work, I need to keep my risk low.
- Someone I know got COVID-19 and it was scary. That’s why I feel more comfortable with us wearing masks and keeping a distance.
We are all for keeping it friendly, open and non-judgmental – but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your safety! It’s OK to be clear and straightforward with what you need to feel safe and comfortable. It’s also okay to decline invitations or leave situations that feel too risky. You should never have to feel bad or apologize for prioritizing your safety. Lead by example by sticking to what works for you and avoiding judgment.
- Thanks for the invite, but I’m going to pass this time. I not comfortable being around groups of people right now.
- I know you don’t want to hang out outside today and that’s OK, but I don’t feel safe getting together indoors. Let’s try again another day!
- Whoops! This is a little too crowded for me. I’ll come back.