BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) — Bars in Burlington were given the green light Monday to stay open past 11 p.m. for the first time since early March.
Hours were initially shortened in anticipation of college students returning to Burlington and the potential for COVID-19 spread. It’s been over a month since students returned, and it hasn’t resulted in any significant spike in cases.
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine was asked about the City Council’s decision on Tuesday.
“Both in Burlington and statewide, the college data still looks quite good,” Dr. Levine said. “We’re not seeing instances of transmission of COVID within the campus setting.”
Burlington bars will still have the same capacity requirements, but the extended hours could be a short-term boost for struggling bars and restaurants that saw a fraction of their typical summertime business.
“We gave flexibility to communities to make these decisions,” Gov. Phil Scott said. “Burlington feels as though it’s time to open those up, and that’s there prerogative at this point.”
Like other restrictions that have been loosened in recent months, the return to a 2 a.m. last call could be subject to change based on circumstances.
“Watching the data to this point, I can’t believe that closing bars earlier is the entire explanation for success in the college population,” Dr. Levine said. “If that’s relaxed a little and things continue on fine, that’s great. If they don’t, you make appropriate adjustments.”
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