Open Burlington Small Businesses

Open Burlington Small Businesses

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Mark Bouchett started this petition to Mayor Weinberger and

Vermonters have come together to meet the unprecedented health and safety challenge presented by the onset of Covid-19. At great risk to their future existence Vermont service businesses have closed their doors and severed their primary, if not only, source of revenue.

We have been assured that by making this sacrifice we would help to prevent the overwhelming of our hospitals and our healthcare institutions while minimizing the impact of this terrible virus on our vulnerable populations. We were told, that these strict measures would prevent a spike in the course of this virus as it makes its way through our population. We were happy to do this. As local business owners, we feel a duty and responsibility to do our part to protect the well being of our families,our staff, our customers and our communities.

These past several weeks have been difficult for local businesses. We have spent our savings and taken on substantial new debt in order to maintain our staffs and to pay our bills to cover the costs of spoiled goods and pay commitments made prior to the shutdown. Many of us have availed ourselves to the the loans and grants offered by the city, state, and federal governments for which we are grateful. However, some of these monies have terms that are tied to our ability to resume operations at or close to our former level. Finally we have done all of this with no sense of a real timeline upon which to project a cash flow. Any business owner knows that even a profitable business can fail if it has neglected to properly anticipate its cash needs for which a timeline of projected revenue is essential.

We trust that the state in coordination with our health service institutions have in fact used this unprecedented effort made by all Vermonters to prepare for the virus to run its course through our great state. We are aware that Vermonters who are older and who suffer from additional respiratory ailments or other underlying conditions are at greater risk and should therefore take greater precautions.

The remainder of us, however, who are at lower risk need to get back to work. I believe that Vermonters can be trusted to go forward with the interests of their fellows in mind. Businesses, I believe, will do whatever is necessary to assure their customers that they have their safety interests at heart and at the center of their concerns. I know that at my business I do not need anyone to mandate that our staff must wear masks, gloves or that we regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces. We have already developed many methods of contact free transactions. This is only a start. I know that as new technologies and practices to improve safety evolve my customers will be the ultimate judge of the job we do to provide a safe shopping environment. They will demand it and we will deliver.

Every business is different and will need to come back to the market in a different way. I hope that Vermonters will be trusted to behave with the interests of their fellows in mind and that the restrictions placed upon them will be as minimal as possible. Most businesses cannot survive at 25% or even 50% of their former volume. Local businesses are the life blood of many towns in Vermont. Without them the charm and character of these places will be seriously diminished. The large chains will undoubtedly survive but Vermont will be very different indeed if they are the only ones to survive.

I know the decisions that lie ahead for our representatives and their counsels are going to be difficult and I don’t envy them their job at the moment. I only hope that they know that they can count on Vermonters to be good, caring and responsible citizens. Thanks for the tough job you do and a standing ovation for our fantastic health care workers.

Thanks,

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