130 organizations urge Scott to delay reopening, citing food and housing issues
As Governor Phil Scott prepares to lift the state’s remaining Covid-19 restrictions in the coming days, 130 businesses and organizations have signed a letter urging him to wait until more protections are in place for vulnerable Vermonters.
The coalition – led by Hunger Free Vermont, Vermont Foodbank and Capstone Community Action – highlights emergency funding that has been essential for people who need access to healthy food and safe housing.
“The recovery for low-income Vermonters, for those who are homeless and for those who suffer from hunger, will be slow,” the letter said. “Maintaining access to essential FEMA-funded programs that support Vermonters’ access to basic needs such as food, emergency housing, etc.
Coalition calls on Scott to ensure prepared meals remain available for participants in the state’s emergency housing program; a “descent” of the Vermont Everyone Eats program, which has enabled restaurants and hubs to provide meals to those in need; and maintaining 3SquaresVT emergency allocations “for as long as possible”.
“We believe that unless a new plan is put in place to ensure that all Vermonters can meet these two most basic needs, our entire recovery is in jeopardy,” the letter said.
The group includes signatories as diverse as Cabot Village Store, Brattleboro Housing Partnerships and Screamin ‘Ridge Farm in Montpellier.
Scott waited to reopen until 80% of Vermonters received their first vaccine. As of Tuesday, 79.4% had been vaccinated, leaving only 3,139 Vermont residents who still have to meet the requirement for Scott to drop the emergency order.
The group applauds “efforts to ensure that the gaps remain filled as work continues on more permanent solutions.”
“The increase in the vaccination rate and the continued decrease in Covid cases is certainly cause for celebration, but most people in our state are still living in a state of emergency,” it read.
This story will be updated.
Want to stay up to date with the latest business news? Sign up here to receive a weekly email on all of VTDigger’s reports on local businesses and economic trends. And check out our new Business section here.