Gov. Scott orders ‘close-contact businesses’ to close

Michael Bielawski/TNR

SHUT DOWN OR ELSE: First schools and restaurants were ordered to close, but now many other businesses are being told to shut down due to coronavirus fears, despite the devastating impact on the economy.

Gov. Phil Scott on Saturday placed additional strain on the economy by ordering a shutdown of “close-contact” businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The unprecedented move in Vermont, part of the Scott administration’s response to fears about COVID-19, requires that all “gymnasiums, fitness centers and similar exercise facilities, hair salons and barbers, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors” must close by 8 p.m. Monday.

“In consultation with the Department of Health, the Governor has determined it is necessary to prohibit in-person operations at close-contact businesses, meaning those unable to comply with guidelines for social distancing,” a statement from the governor’s office says.

Another restriction announced Saturday is public gatherings are now limited to 10 people, a change from the limit of 50 imposed last week by the administration.

The reasoning behind the shutdown has been that extreme “social distancing” is necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a pandemic illness that has caused 402 deaths in the United States and 14,376 deaths worldwide.

“As I’ve said throughout this crisis, I will continue to act to slow the spread of this virus in Vermont because we must protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and ensure they can get the care they need, when they need it,” Scott said. “We will continue to make decisions based on science and guidance from our experts. I don’t make these decisions lightly and my heart goes out to these workers and small business owners who are feeling the negative effects.”

As of Sunday, Vermont is reporting 52 positive cases of coronavirus and two deaths this year. By comparison, the three-week period ending March 7 saw 24 Vermonters die of pneumonia and three by the flu, according to the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance System.

In the same three-week period about 8,335 Americans died of pneumonia and 1,289 died of the flu.

In contrast to public officials putting America in lockdown, some members of the media are calling for an end to the shutdown, saying the restrictions on work and business will cause an economic catastrophe within weeks.

Wall Street Journal editorial published Thursday argues that the country must lift restrictions within a month to avoid mass job losses and business closings.

“The costs of this national shutdown are growing by the hour, and we don’t mean federal spending. We mean a tsunami of economic destruction that will cause tens of millions to lose their jobs as commerce and production simply cease,” the WSJ editorial board wrote. “Many large companies can withstand a few weeks without revenue but that isn’t true of millions of small and mid-sized firms.”

Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld said Friday that “we must consider the devastating consequences if we expand this shutdown beyond what’s tolerable.”

Vermont businesses — even ones not yet forced to close — are feeling the pinch. Rich Christiansen, owner of Plainfield Hardware in Plainfield, says his profitable eat-in deli section is struggling.

“Certain parts are not so good,” he said. “The deli is open for takeout only and the sit-down is not allowed. We’re looking at possibly reducing our hours right now just because we’re trying to keep our help limited.”

He added there’s an uneasy feeling among the customers.

“People are worried — there’s a lot of people that are very concerned,” he said. “I get it, and until things change, that’s what it is.”

The new restrictions on public gatherings are going to test certain parts of the nation, and especially young people, including college students who have been throwing “corona parties” on spring break and acting out against authorities when told to stop.

The governor on Saturday offered some words of encouragement for Vermonters worried about their lives and livelihoods.

“There is no doubt these are difficult times, and my administration — with the help of the legislature and Vermont’s Congressional delegation — will do all we can to help those impacted by this virus or these measures,” he said. “I’m proud of the people of our state and how they’ve pull together.

More information on Vermont’s COVID-19 response can be found at healthvermont.gov/covid19.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

24 thoughts on “Gov. Scott orders ‘close-contact businesses’ to close

  1. Well written article, states facts, many sides, let’s people decide. We need more reporting like this well done, well done. Great source of links too.

    While I’m quite skeptical of what is going on, I’m not tempting fate. We’ll know by the end of this week how bad the problem really is….

  2. Up to date info about the state by state conditions: Note, I may be 80 but have the energy, stamina without any health problems so feel like mid 40’s. Looking at the data, guess I’m safe.
    Data from the CDC, not a fake news source.

    UPDATED: The first 417 U.S. coronavirus deaths by state and age
    https://sharylattkisson.com/2020/03/new-the-first-59-u-s-coronavirus-deaths-by-state-and-age/
    March 22, 2020 by Sharyl Attkisson

    Editor’s Note: The numbers increase daily and it will soon not be possible for me to keep them current. But the profiles below provide a snapshot in time of the victims.
    For the latest government information, visit CDC.gov. Also see the Johns Hopkins coronavirus resources center.

  3. This is an outrage! Scott’s “orders” are totally unconstitutional. He has the authority to close any & all state government facilities, but absolutely none for dictates to the private sector. It is a power grab and he needs to be opposed with vidor!

  4. Looks like chloroquine is an effective treatment against this virus. It is also a tested, established, known medicine.
    So expect the MSM to pretend it doesn’t exist, or is “unproven”, and every thing they can think of to keep this crisis going will be thrown. After all, their motto is “never let a crisis go to waste”.
    We need to get back to normal soon! But this is the left’s latest and worst attack so far, to terrorize the public and kill our country, and get back at our President.
    If it fails, and it is failing already, they are TOAST!
    Those college edumacated political activists think they are smart, but they are only clever, as time will prove.

  5. I am not a Phil Scott fan, but we have a Governor, that has taken the bull by the horns
    and shut down all businesses to help eliminate the spread of the ” Wuhan Virus ” but
    what has the Governor done to help the same businesses survive ??

    I don’t see any elimination of the tax burdens on business or its citizens that are due to
    the state coffers !!

    Beware, in times of tragedy liberals will push in the dark of night their agenda policies

    • How convenient that many would become so subject to fear that they would surrender their freedoms. Make no mistake. If we, as citizens of Vermont, allow the government to restrict or God-given rights that were recognized by our forefathers, we will not only never see them again, but such infringements will continue until not one shred of liberty remains for us. Benjamin Franklin had it right.

  6. Project much? Anyone who slams responsible ppl for not listening to error-laden so-called experts with numbers written in disappearing ink is in fact a fool. The WHO head is a proven liar who has published false information leading to worldwide panic

    Antidote already been found, there is a cure and a preventative. Kindly remove head from a*s and do some research instead of spoonfed dubious ‘facts’. Wuhan flu is a combo of SARS and Covid2. There is a vaccine for SARS:
    https://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/infectious/sars-vaccine.htm
    And a vaccine which could be available in months.

    However the common flu is also a coronavirus and vaccine is considered fairly useless at best less than 50% effective. *Real* experts recognize most will recover. It is not ‘the most contagious ever seen’ and spreads only when there are sick ppl to spread it thru close contact, poor hygeine and droplets in the air spread by coughing.

    Your flawed math and ‘linear supply chain’ mumbo jumbo is laughable. It’s not unstoppable it needs a host and is killed by sunlight and heat as well as soap, water and alcohol.

    So there’s no need to hide and a remedy. And and you’re clearly a fearmongering troll. your bridge is getting lonely sir

    • Comment didn’t post on IE so used FF only to see it posted. This has been happening frequently and a few didn;’t post…Elves again?

    • Thank you Stardust. PPL put out info for others to view from various sources.There are as much various sources of information as there commentators. I have reams of it from many sources and connect the dots to view the over all picture and becomes more truthful than gobbling up the Trump hating media “reports” and their “gotcha” questions for the Prez. Below I posted only one bit of info from a highly educated professional with the hopes it provides a catalyst for others to seek more and figure out for themselves what the truth is. The media argues about Trumps use the designation being a “Chinese Virus”. They are so “politically correct” and confrontational at anything positive. Seeking information is like a Christmas tree with it’s branches. Follow the branch out and each sub-branch representing bits of info. Then go to the next branch for more info, a learning experience.

      The procedure is like getting a Patent (which I have two). There are reference Patents (sub-branches). Each noted patent also has references. Each referenced Patent has many other reference patents. It’s a mind blogging procedure and I’ve thru it many times. Have to do it as you need to know if your idea wasn’t already patented. An attorney will charge a lot, do it yourself to learn and save. Hence is my attitude for researching and seeking out the truth on this virus and how to respond. Being an Engineer you get oriented to seek details as they can make or break you in any project and can be expensive.

      So Royal, look up, the sun will rise.

  7. Vermonters need look no further than the State legislature to determine why there may be shortages of test kits, respirators, ventilators and the like, to treat the coronavirus. Three years ago, for example, Rob Roper argued for the repeal of Vermont’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws for the specific reason that they arbitrarily and inefficiently limit investment in healthcare infrastructure.
    https://vtdigger.org/2017/10/31/rob-roper-repeal-vermonts-certificate-need-laws/

    And while several States have CON laws, VermontBiz reported in 2016 that ‘Vermont has most Certificate of Need laws of any state’.
    https://www.vermontbiz.com/news/october/vermont-has-most-certificate-need-laws-any-state

    Demagoguery has no place in today’s serious pandemic circumstance.

  8. Wave goodbye to the restaurants, pubs and 1000s of other Mom & Pop businesses in Central VT and the NE Kingdom. Vermont’s anti-business legislature and RINO governor have made it nearly impossible to survive in normal times . . . this situation is the final nail in the VT economy’s coffin. Just what the FAR LEFT wants . . . a population totally dependent of government handouts. Had enough yet?

  9. As a past business owner, I take responsibility for my company. The state has no business telling private companies what to do. Scenario: If a business stays open, it’s up to potential customers to decide whether to by services or a product. In particular would be an observation of the number of people inside. Let people decide what’s best for them, not some politician that’s emotionally caught up in the non-stop media hype. Many doctors & professionals state otherwise and they have common sense. Note that the trucking industry is not shutting down. Have to stop the idiotic TP hoarders.

    An article by one such professional:
    Using Coronavirus Fear-Mongering To Suppress Dissent
    Scientist with 4 Degrees from MIT Warns ‘Deep State’
    https://www.westernjournal.com/doctor-4-degrees-mit-warns-deep-state-using-coronavirus-fear-mongering-suppress-dissent/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=wcjemail&utm_campaign=CAN&utm_content=2020-03-17

    The Common Flu killed approx 30,000 people. This virus isn’t as bad. A nursing home in WA (close confines) had about 40 people die of the total. I’d like to see far more data. In areas of higher concentrations, more will be affected.

    Hope this interesting article isn’t deleted. It’s informational.

    • This a very irresponsible and selfish post. You are not paying attention to the overwhelming core group of experts. There is absolutely no evidence that this virus is controllable. Social separation is mandatory until we find some sort of antidote or vaccine. This is no common flu. It is more contagious than any disease ever seen. It spreads at an exponential rate. The supply chain against it is linear at best. Do you understand consequence of the math? This means it’s un-stoppaple for now. There is no vaccine, no remedy, no hiding. Don’t promote unnecessary and dangerous social interaction in your community. For your own good as well. Peace.

      • Project much? Anyone who slams responsible ppl for not listening to error-laden so-called experts with numbers written in disappearing ink is in fact a fool. The WHO head is a proven liar who has published false information leading to worldwide panic. CDC has a sordid history.

        Antidote already been found, there is a cure and a preventative. Kindly remove head from a*s and do some research instead of spoonfed dubious ‘facts’. Wuhan flu is a combo of SARS and Covid2. There is a vaccine for SARS:
        https://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/infectious/sars-vaccine.htm
        And a vaccine which could be available for this in months.

        However the common flu is also a coronavirus and vaccine is considered fairly useless, at best less than 50% effective. *Real* experts recognize most will recover. It is not ‘the most contagious ever seen’ and spreads only when there are sick ppl to spread it thru close contact, poor hygeine and droplets in the air spread by coughing.

        Your flawed math and ‘linear supply chain’ mumbo jumbo is laughable. It’s not unstoppable it needs a host and is killed by sunlight and heat as well as soap, water and alcohol.

        So there’s no need to hide and a remedy. And and you’re clearly a fearmongering troll. Your bridge is getting lonely sir.

      • Have it your way chicken little. It’s your life not mine. I research and see the alternatives other than lick up all the BS the media states. Bet you’re a TP hoarder..

  10. Comrade Phil will go down in VT history as the worst governor in the state of VT dwarfing the many mismanagement debacles of the Shummy regime and making Madeline Kunin – who nearly bankrupted our state – look competent. Our atate is insolvent I think that means ‘bankrupt’ so it will be under foolish Phils watch that we are forced to ‘restructure’ which could be good for most Vermonters but teachers, other pension assorted pension funded retirements, VT State Employees – not very.

    • Why does VT have more State employees, per capita, than any other State around us?

      When our mandatory School Consolidation was forced on us, why did our student population decrease, yet our costs increased by $400k?

      • And teachers too. Add to that all public sector workers. The government needs communists to vote for them. Dems vote for the Comrade by at least 2:1? and largest constituency. Government workers who are sucking up all of our pension and health care resources vote for the ones pouring the coal on their gravytrain – surprise. They know who fills their trough.

  11. Beware the hype.

    For example, VT Digger just published an article with the headline:
    ‘Vermonters seek COVID-19 tests — and can’t get them.’

    The same article also states that:
    “The state now has the capacity to test between 600 and 800 people, according to state epidemiologist Patsy Kelso. That number will grow, as more supplies recently arrived from the federal government, she told legislators Friday.“

    Apparently, journalism ethics are suffering from the pandemic too.

    • Jay, when you mention vtdigger you are dealing with the super left and many reporters who are young graduates from the nations indoctrination centers, colleges and universities. I realize that true journalism died some time ago. Politically correct vtdigger stifles reader comments and they call comments reader footnotes, what a farce. Their motto, In pursuit of the truth falls flat through the use of censorship by omission.

      • Dano, few others know, or have experienced, VTD’s propensities more than I. Nonetheless, I continue to call out anyone who, under the guise of bipartisanship, uses that pulpit to further a blatantly partisan, and in this case inaccurate, point of view… especially when lives are at stake. In this case my grievance isn’t VTD’s simple omission of pertinent fact, it’s VTD’s persistent misrepresentation of headline edits, sometimes without the approval of the VTD staff reporter writing the article. All VTD had to do was state that:

        SOME Vermonters seek COVID-19 tests — and can’t get them.’

        The fact that the VTD reporter failed to address Vermont’s Certificate of Need laws is another issue entirely. See comment above.

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