Vt. Gov. Scott Unveils $400M Coronavirus Relief Package

The package, funded by the federal CARES Act, will provide grants to hard-hit industries

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Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Wednesday announced a $400 million relief package to help local businesses and stimulate the economy amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

In a news conference, Scott said the package, funded by the federal CARES Act, would provide loans and grants "to get money out the door to help businesses survive right now."

Some $250 million will be used for direct grants and loans to Vermont businesses. This includes $150 million for the hard-hit hotel, food, retail and agriculture for expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities and inventory.

Some $80 million will go to "Vermont economic injury grants" and low- and no-interest loans for businesses in other sectors, commerce secretary Lindsay Kurrle said.

Some $20 million in loans will go to small business and non-profit organizations with revenues under $1 million and five or fewer employees.

"This is our first collective step towards preparing economic bridges and ensuring the survival of our business community," Kurrle said.

In addition, $50 million will go towards helping dairy farmers, and funds will also go to aid for renters and landlords.

As of Tuesday, the state had reported 944 cases of COVID-19, including 54 fatalities.

A debate is growing in Vermont on whether customers should be required to wear face coverings when stores reopen next week.

The expected announcement comes as a new round of businesses prepare to reopen in Vermont starting Memorial Day weekend. Vermont inns, hotels, short-term rentals, campgrounds and marinas can start hosting overnight reservations again as of Friday, May 22 with restrictions, Scott said Friday.

The next phase in Scott's reopening plan came after an extension of the state of emergency declaration until June 15.

Scott earlier this week doubled down on his indication that he’ll soon be allowing outdoor dining and certain services like hair salons to reopen by June 1, if all the health department numbers continue looking good. He said he will have more clarity on that step Wednesday.

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