Gov. Scott responds to White House’s three-phase reopening plan

The White House

GETTING THINGS TURNED ON AGAIN: President Donald Trump has issued a three-stage plan to get the economy turned on again after states saw their economies collapse due to non-essential business closings and stay-home orders.

Governors across the country are considering how best to implement President Donald Trump’s new three-phase guidelines for reopening state economies.

In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott has begun releasing details of how he plans to get Vermonters back to work while protecting citizens from the coronavirus pandemic. So far, it appears Scott’s plan may be less aggressive than what the president is proposing.

The White House’s “Opening Up America” plan takes a three-step approach that begins May 1 and stretches on for months.

In Phase 1 of the president’s plan, people who are at high-risk of being harmed by COVID-19 will continue to follow “stay home” protocols. Also, restaurants, sporting venues, gyms, and places of worship will open back up.

During Phase 2, schools and other organized activities will resume, bars will open, and people can travel for non-essential purposes. Gatherings will be limited to less than 50 people.

In Phase 3, employers can resume full staffing, vulnerable populations can stop social distancing, and visits to senior homes and hospitals can resume as before.

However, to begin reopening, states must experience a full 14 days of decreasing cases and hospitalizations. This means some states may be able to proceed while others might take longer.

“Some states will open smoother than others,” Trump said Thursday.

At his Friday media briefing, Vermont’s governor announced a loosening of restrictions on businesses.

“The ACCD [Agency of Commerce and Community Development] has developed a plan to allow certain businesses such as property management and one-to-two person crews in construction and similar trades, as well as low and no-contact professional services like appraisers, realtors, and municipal clerks and attorneys, to get back to work beginning April 20,” he said.

Scott’s first move, announced late last week, was to allow lodges to begin booking again for stays after June 15.

Scott warned that reopening Vermont “won’t be business as usual,” and that even while returning to work some social distancing practices — including spreading apart and wearing masks — may be necessary.

Scott said his administration is reviewing the newly released White House plan and will “take and glean any information that could be relevant and helpful.”

“I think we have a plan that works. We’ve been working at this from the very beginning, putting steps into place and mitigation efforts into place, and I think it’s been beneficial to Vermont,” he said Friday.

With more than 80,000 Vermonters having filed for unemployment since Scott declared a state of emergency last month, the Vermont Department of Labor is struggling to process unemployment claims and issue payments in a timely fashion.

“We have roughly 34,000 Vermonters who combined have over 50,000 issues associated with their claims,” acting Labor Department Commissioner Michael Harrington said at the Friday briefing. “These are people who are eligible for but were flagged for processing. It can occur for a variety of reasons, and under normal circumstances, it even happens a lot.”

He said the department is adding over 100 personnel to alleviate the backlogs. If there are any unpaid benefits remaining after Saturday night, the Vermont Treasury will begin issuing $1,200 checks on Sunday.

As projections for the deaths and hospitalizations from the coronavirus continue to be revised lower, there is a concern that the response to the virus has been more devastating than the pandemic itself.

Scott said he’s aware not everyone agrees with his response to the pandemic.

“I do realize there are some who feel the economic impacts have been too costly,” he said.

However, he added that he believes large numbers of lives were likely saved.

“The reality is we could’ve lost hundreds, maybe thousands of Vermonters had we done nothing, and caused unthinkable longterm harm to our economy and our way of life.”

As of Friday afternoon, the Vermont Health Department is reporting 35 people have died of COVID-19. More than 770 cases have been identified, and 32 people are currently hospitalized for the virus.

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 The White House
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12 thoughts on “Gov. Scott responds to White House’s three-phase reopening plan

  1. The legislature will now have to figure out how to recover the state budget. The governor is off the hook since he has no veto pen. VT was in the hole before the pandemic, as we have been each year for the past 8 years or so. Now it is pretty serious. If there were ever a time for a forward thinking government to really examine where VT is spending money and what we get for it, now is the time. Hundreds of non-profit “businesses” are supported by the state via lobbying efforts to the majority with no real accountability measures. Time to end that gravy train for some. If the feds do any sort of bail out for states it won’t make VT whole.
    The fact that we are considering closing NVU and VT Tech is very short-sighted when we are funding many non-government entities. The chancellor makes a big salary, for what? Are there creative solutions? Could these colleges take on some forms of state work or High School education in exchange for better support? So many students who cannot afford to seek education elsewhere rely on these schools, especially VT Tech which supports our agricultural and manufacturing employers.
    Also, difficult as it may seem, it would be a good idea to put the teachers and state employee pension restructuring at the top of the priority list and both reduce costs and address the unfunded liabilities as the stock market will not save any plan for the foreseeable future.

  2. I am 72, in reasonable health, non smoker, except for advanced prostate C. (treated), no real health issues. Took the advice of a book I have read read, “Fear not for I am with you”. Do what I want, respect those who are fearful and keep away, but will not wear a mask and do what I want. If we do not resume some type of normalcy in a couple of years when this has mutated we will see real spread. We need herd immunity. Malnutrition will be a major contributor to its next round. We do not need Bill Gates mandatory vaccine and chipping to keep us safe.

  3. Phil Scott is not our Governor. He is our official Village idiot. He will keep us shut down well beyond Trumps recommendation because he hates Trump.
    As far as fining and arresting people for crimes against executive orders, there is absolutely no basis in Constitutional law to support these actions. Rip up your tickets

  4. All have had the opportunity to watch Comrade Phil and commissars stumble and fumble their way thru this taking the most drastic options of action – blowtorch not needed to get rid of dandruff.

    Personally understand one thing for sure Benedict Scott is *not* a leader and has failed his former base and entire state of VT and is a miserable and abject failure.

    And as some of us have suspected numbers blown waaay out of proportion fanned by all of MSM w/nonstop lockstep breathless reporting – and shame on them all for not taking a critical look – when numbercrunchers Fauci the fraud and Birx the bureaucrat realized they had effed up rather than backpedalling dug in and increased them to hide failure by saying ‘see it’s working-now they’re dropping’ and always staying a step ahead of the secret books they were keeping to know the truth while reporting lies. Both represent vested interests as well as Pharma and corporate entities which stand to benefit from the free-for-all.

    Textbook example of Propaganda 101 as the herded and sheepled masses allowed selves to be manipulated and took spoonfed numbers at face value resulting in the shredding of our constitutional rights. Shame!

    i s o l a t i o n
    Paul Joseph Watson Published on Apr 5, 2020
    People are starting to act even more weird.

  5. Scott says the virus could have ” caused unthinkable long term harm to our economy
    and our way of life.”….. what a crock.

    What’s caused unthinkable long term harm to Vermont, is his Progressive Democrats
    and all the foolishness they put into law year after year.

    Vermont will get over this Wuhan Virus in a few months, but we will have longterm
    effects on the state from the real Virus ” Progressive Democrats ”

    Wake up people, rhino Scott is just that, and he’s tainted by the progressives what a
    shame ………………..

  6. Scott says virus could have ” caused unthinkable long term harm to our economy and our way of life.”
    And for sure Scott did just that!!. It is not the virus that was the enemy of human life, it was our gov’t lead by a very very paniced Governor.

    Unfortunate that 30+ almost all elderly already with challenging health died, 150? recovered to live again, We are told More than that died of the regular flu – again elderly already at risk.
    AND the rest of the 600,000 had to be locked in purgatory awaiting our chance to return to the heaven of Vermont, released only after months of being denied liberty, constitutional freedoms, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom to WORK to support our own families – Vermont will not be heaven again for a LONG time.

    – – instead HE promoted the lure that BIG BUCKS WILL FLOW FROM A GOV’T HEAVEN TO SUSTAIN US. The beginning, or the continuation of conditioning us to socialism – which ends as a China or Russia government has FULL and total control of the economy and the population. Gov’t decides who gets what, just as they just have.

    • Yes, Scott couldn’t let the Wuhan virus take credit for what he wanted to do all along.

  7. How many of those listed as “died of covid 19” are actually “comorbidities”, since as Dr. Birx stated, everybody who dies “with” the virus is listed as “from” the virus.
    It’s a scaremongering fraud, empowering our unelected elites, while wrecking the economy to destroy the middle class and make us all their subjects.

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