Accelerate the re-opening of the Vermont economy

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May 9, 2020

Dear Gov. Scott:

We are Vermonters who are concerned for public health and the lives of vulnerable fellow citizens. We participate in good faith with your  “stay home, stay safe” and social distancing executive orders. We recognize your good intention to minimize the impact of the pandemic on the lives of Vermonters you are sworn to protect. In that context, we urge you to recognize:

We are winning the war. Vermont’s Covid-19 illness and mortality figures are far lower than even the most optimistic computer models that guided your executive orders. In recent weeks, the daily average of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Vermont has decreased substantially. Covid-19 has not overwhelmed our hospitals, nor is a resurgence likely to do if we act responsibly. 

You can trust your fellow Vermonters to act responsibly. We have learned much during this State of Emergency. Given full information and freedom of choice, Vermonters will act in the best interests of themselves, their families, and their communities. 

The benefits of returning to work outweigh the risks of continued lockdown. Vermont must not ask the federal government to further impoverish future generations and imperil national security and quality of life with another trillion or so dollars of debt. State government needs its portion of our paychecks to provide essential services. Most of all, we need to support ourselves. As parents we do not want our children to see us idly dependent on the government for support, even when under compulsion. As we evaluate all the present risks,  we consider the unintended consequences of continued lockdown as the greatest risk to our common future. 

We understand that Covid-19 is still strong in some areas of nearby states. We appreciate the ongoing need to limit transmission from out-of-state visitors from some areas. Some large-group gatherings may need to be briefly delayed. We accept that high-risk Vermonters may need to remain in isolation for their good and the good of others. 

In consideration of the above, we petition you to amend your Executive Orders to accelerate the reopening of our economy and other institutions.  In conjunction with providing detailed public education and guidelines specific to each institution, we ask you that you immediately:

- Fully reopen retail stores, beauty salons, farmers’ markets, and other businesses and industries, excepting only temporarily those most reliant on large-group gatherings and out-of-state visitors. 
- Reopen restaurants, if necessary with phased-in social distancing.
- Reopen houses of worship.
- Announce plans for reopening public schools for the 2020-21 school year.