Scott’s $400 million economic recovery package edging forward

Published on VBM, 6/03/2020 – Vermont businesses and nonprofits on the brink of bankruptcy got a bit of good news today as Governor Scott, the Speaker’s office and the Senate President Pro Tem saying they expected the $400 million financial aid package to be passed by the end of June, if not sooner. Lawmakers could release some emergency funds ahead of the rest.

The massive, by Vermont standards, plan would provide emergency funds to the hardest hit industries and then help shore up other businesses and organizations moving forward.

The health care mitigations efforts, like closing restaurants, and the resultant economic fallout, as seen by the decimation of the dairy industry, would be two industries to receive the first of the emergency funds.

The money comes from the federal CARES Act federal stimulus.

Vermont received $1.25 billion. While this was the lowest amount provided to any state because of Vermont’s size, it is relatively high when judge per capita.

Restaurants were among the first businesses required to close in mid-March as the COVID-19 pandemic closed in on Vermont.

Scott noted at his press briefing today that closing the bars and restaurants before St Patrick’s Day was particularly hard on that industry.

And they aren’t back yet.

Indoor bar service remains closed for the foreseeable future. However, the governor said he expects to announce a reopening plan for indoor restaurant service Friday. He said this will come with the type of guidance we’ve become used to: Spaced out tables, limited capacity seating, and other measures to ensure safety.

Scott reiterated that while the economy has suffered, his first order of business is keeping Vermonters safe.

He acknowledged that some businesses will never come back, either because of the mitigation efforts or from the “new normal” of how some businesses that need close contact service will no longer be viable.

He added that while the metaphorical “spigot” he’s been turning in order to restart the economy is likely to be turned on for every type of industry, the “waterflow” will probably be reduced. As in, maintaining capacity limits will naturally lead to reduced commerce.

“I don’t think we can open the spigot all the way,” he said.

The search for a vaccine, which is widely considered possible, still has a long way to go, he acknowledged, but perhaps by 2021 we will be back to some sort of normalcy, or “new” normalcy.

To read the full article by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine please click here.

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