MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott has lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions after the state hit his 80% vaccination threshold Sunday.

Scott called a special news conference Monday to make the announcement that more than 80% of the state’s eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Just as he did when he declared a state of emergency 15 months ago, the governor was surrounded by members of his administration when he announced he will let his state of emergency order expire at midnight June 15.

“Today, I’m very proud to announce that Vermont has now become the first state in the nation to vaccinate 80% of its 12 and over population. In a fair comparison to President Biden’s goal of 70% of Americans over the age of 18 by July 4, Vermont has vaccinated 81.8% of 18-plus,” Scott said.

The governor said not only does Vermont lead the United States in vaccinations, it’s also a global leader.

Last month, the governor said if the state hit his 80% threshold he would do away with any remaining pandemic restrictions.

“So, to be clear, here’s what this change means and it’s really pretty simple: There are no longer any State COVID-19 restrictions. None,” he said. “Unless there is a federal requirement in place, like for public transportation or long-term care facilities, employers, municipalities and individuals can operate under the same conditions as before the pandemic.”

While the governor’s state of emergency order will expire, he said he will be signing some executive orders to keep some key provisions in place that are still needed because of the pandemic.

The governor said it’s natural for some residents to feel uncomfortable with this move.

“I hope all Vermonters show compassion and respect for everyone, including businesses choosing to keep some requirements in place, while they wait for all their employees to do the right thing and get vaccinated,” Scott said.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said while the pandemic isn’t over, Vermonters can take pride in what this milestone means. Levine said the state stands once again as one of healthiest in the country.

“This is a statewide achievement and says much about the individual and policy commitment Vermont has to public health,” he said.

The commissioner said the state will continue to work to get as many residents vaccinated as possible so the state’s protection can stay as strong as it can.

“For those who can’t get vaccinated, we will do our best to keep you healthy,” he said. “And to anyone who has chosen to not get vaccinated, I ask you once again to reconsider, for your health and those you love.”

Levine said the state will prepare for younger children to be eligible for the vaccine, possibly by the fall.

eric.blaisdell

@timesargus.com

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