While governor extends state of emergency, business survey paints ugly economic outlook

Michael Bielawski/TNR

ENDLESS LOCKDOWN?: Vermont’s governor continues to extend the coronavirus-related state of emergency, even while healthy non-elderly populations face little threat.

Gov. Phil Scott has continued Vermont’s state of emergency status for another month even as a new survey shows nearly a third of the state’s businesses lost more than half of their income last year due to harsh restrictions on economic activity.

“I’ll sign an extension to the state of emergency for another month,” Scott said Friday. “As a reminder, this is simply the tool we need to respond to the pandemic, but I’m hopeful there won’t be too many more of these extensions in the future.”

Less than a year ago, the governor said the lockdown on certain businesses and K-12 schools was to last for only a few weeks to prevent a flood of COVID-19 patients to hospitals. That flood never materialized.

By April, Scott was promising to turn the economy back on. “As soon as the data shows a leveling and downward trend, then, and only then, will we open the spigot a quarter turn at a time to get folks back to work in a way that’s responsible and safe,” the governor said.

Scott continues to declare a state of emergency each month even as non-elderly people continue to face little threat from COVID-19. The data from the UK and elsewhere indicates that the vast majority of the deaths are elderly people who are already health-compromised.

Meanwhile, Vermont’s economy is facing unprecedented challenges from state-restricted economic and social activity.

A new survey by Davis and Hodgdon Associates CPAs and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce has revealed the economic crisis now facing small businesses. The results are not encouraging.

“There is dramatic change in business owners’ attitudes about the Vermont and US economies,” the survey states.

Of 151 businesses that participated, 85% of respondents report a downturn in revenue, and 61% of respondents now believe they are in an economic downturn, compared to 26% from a year ago.

About 48% of Vermont business owners “have no exit plan” for their business, meaning about half of Vermont business owners are not currently dedicated to continuing.

About 86 percent of the respondents were from companies with 25 or fewer employees.

Asked why they are losing revenue, 87% of respondents cited “pandemic-related issues”; 36% said they were having difficulty finding good employees, and 22% cited Vermont taxes.

When businesses were asked what issues they want to see lawmakers address, according to the survey, “the answers revealed continued frustration with over taxation and the excessive cost of doing business in Vermont.”

Some rules from the governor’s emergency extension issued Monday include a near ban on all socialization outside of family, as “all multi-household social gatherings indoors and outdoors in public and private spaces are prohibited. This includes all public and private gatherings including but not limited to household gatherings, parties, weddings, events, etc.”

Betsy Bishop, president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, is quoted in the report as saying the new data on business is very concerning.

“It is grounding that 85 percent of the business owners who responded saw their revenue decrease because of COVID,” she said.

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

17 thoughts on “While governor extends state of emergency, business survey paints ugly economic outlook

  1. Here I go again: we can end the damage that we’re imposing because of the virus but in order to do that we absolutely must do something that seems irrational, illogical, and unscientific: we must ignore the CDC and the NIH and Dr. Fauci, at least for now, until they catch up with the science and drop their prejudices against cheap generic drugs that are readily available and would help millions.

    I read a story today about how no one can figure out why India is doing so well against Covid. That story failed to mention that India has strongly supported and distributed Ivermectin, a drug that the FLCCC group discovered was highly effective against Covid-19.

    The FLCCC (Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance) is just what its name says: a group of experts in the field of critical care who’ve been working on the front lines of Covid-19 care as ICU doctors. They’ve done the job that the NIH failed to do: look everywhere, overturn every stone, to find the most effective treatments for Covid-19 that can be put to use immediately. The FLCCC group was among the very first to promote corticosteroids for the treatment of Covid-19, but the NIH recommended against using corticosteroids and the FLCCC group was ridiculed. Now, however, studies have demonstrated that corticosteroids should be standard treatment for severe Covid-19. The FLCCC group– clinicians actually treatment patients– is leading the way, but it’s a tough question as to whether the NIH and Dr. Fauci will follow along or will stubbornly stick to a policy of vast economic and social harm that we’ll apparently have to endure for years ahead, even with vaccines.

    Ivermectin is the way forward. https://covid19criticalcare.com/videos-and-press/flccc-lecture-for-ypo-gold-on-ivermectin/ Ivermectin is a real medical treatment for Covid-19 that will allow us to stop using non-medical interventions whose harms are arguably worse than the disease itself, especially among our youngest population which is least susceptible to Covid-19, according to well-established data. We were supposed to be flattening the curve for only a few weeks, but it’s beginning to look a bit like political tyranny (and a police state) is coming in through the back door of “medical necessity.” Even if this is wild conspiracy theory, it’s long past time to nip that tendency in the bud.

    The Covid-19 policy of Vermont must move away from reliance on the too-slow NIH and start doing what’s right for the good people of this state. We want tools? We have tools. Pick them up and use them.

    • Great post, I completely agree. It is stunning how obtuse the governor and health commissioner are regarding treatment; we don’t hear a word about it, despite the fact that respected medical professionals such as Yale’s Dr. Harvey Risch and others have testified before the US Senate about effective treatments. Nor do we hear a word about how to maintain a healthy immune system–another stunner, since most Covid victims are immuno-compromised.

      Levine’s “multi-prong” approach to Covid is anything but. For one thing, since the August 1 mask mandate cases have gone up twenty-fold, which tells us all we need to know about masks. Rather than running from a virus that is about as easy to hide from as air itself, we should face it with now-proven treatments and getting on with our lives.

    • Fauchi is enemy # 1 !! He ignores/denies the simple medications
      that had Trump back at work in days.

      He participated in China research, thru an American research agency forwarded money to China back door against Obama’s direct orders.
      Knew what the research was doing – predicting how the virus might spread –
      – and mutate.
      ENOUGH DR FAUCHI

      Now he says “double mask” He is too transparent at this point!!

      • Fauchi is the highest paid US government employee at $450K a year. Not bad for an idiot to “work” putting his face on TV once in a while stating dumb things, often wrong facts and has to correct himself. Government waste, no wonder Bernie and Leaky Leahy stick like glue to the food troth. They don’t know anything else.

        Sorry the learn that Rush died.

    • I wrote a very short, modest comment on Ivermectin for our local on-line newspaper and was told that they couldn’t print it because Merck said Ivermectin didn’t work against Covid-19 and that there was a lack of safety data.

      You can imagine what I wrote back. I was polite.

      Sad to say, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ivermectin is completely suppressed through false accusations, false studies, and simple news blackout. That would tell us a lot about how determined they are to keep us in masks and social distancing and closed businesses (can you spell “viral mutations”?) but my hope is that the good people of this country will insist that the government get out of the way and let the people take the cure.

      The rich folk aren’t hurt that much by this. Even if not exactly rich, Governor Scott and Dr. Levine and Dr. Fauci have nice homes and can afford take-out, hundreds of channels for entertainment, nice restaurants where Covid is never transmitted through the air and you can take your mask off, and trips to vacation spots where they can stay in nice hotels. If they have 20 friends over for dinner without masks on, who’s going to stop them? Who’s going to even know? Who’s going to report them even if they know?

      The folks put out of work, with far fewer options: those are the folks really hurt by these absurd regulations that Sweden has demonstrated are unnecessary, and that data from states in the US demonstrate don’t make any significant difference.

      But you all know that.

      • Continual diatribe amounts to trollimg via spam John – and used solely to derail threads. May I suggest you go back to more constructive project… your woodpile is lonely Mr Freitag lol

  2. Not to worry! Gov. Scott’s good buddy Joe Biden and his minions will be bailing us out very shortly with a 1.9 trillion dollar bailout.

  3. Basic logic and reason would indicate that the “science and data” Phil and Co. are using to justify their continued tyranny is severely flawed on just about every level.
    We should be reminded that “elections have consequences” and respond accordingly.

  4. Rino Scott (D) should be impeached for ruining small businesses in Vermont.
    Yet have you notice that certain small businesses are doing fantastic.. you know the ones that are really friendly with the legislation elites…

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