Montpelier, VT — COVID-19 cases are on the rise but Gov. Phil Scott is not raising any alarms.

“I think we’re not surprised by any slight increase but at the same time, it’s fairly flat, so I think we are doing okay,” he said.

The FDA recently approves a second booster shot for those 50 or older, or who are immunocompromised. “The message I’m hearing is that if there’s no harm in having it but in most cases, it’s not necessary to have in this moment of time,” Scott said.  

Governor Scott says he is contemplating getting the shot himself but will probably wait. “I don’t see the need. I’m pretty well protected right now and if I did happen to get COVID, it’s fairly mild from what I’ve seen so far.”  

In addition to talking about COVID updates in his weekly news conference, Governor Scott and state officials focused on economic development.

“The general lack of development in Vermont over the years has led to our housing supply shortage and our inability to grow the tax base in many of our towns,” said Joan Goldstein, Vermont Economics Development Commissioner.  

Governor Scott wants to use federal money and budget surpluses to develop Vermont. “The federal money as well as the significant budget surpluses truly give us a once in a lifetime opportunity to take transformative steps forward.”  

Goldstein added he wants to help companies recruit workers to Vermont. “This is an unprecedented labor shortage. You can’t really speak to an employer without them talking about an inability to find labor.”

Governor Scott proposed a six million dollar incentivization program to help with the cause. Another proposal includes a $50 million investment in capital investments and the governor believes this money will help Vermont business boom.

“Some examples are childcare facilities, performing arts venues, museums, food supply chain and hospitality projects and supporting small businesses like restaurants and breweries.”   

Another initiative is a $20 million business assistance program to create loans for businesses.

“Veto would issue a loan to help companies cover short-term expenses.”   

Governor Scott believes this money will help companies hit hard by the pandemic.