Vermont businesses await much-needed federal relief

Local News

Businesses in Vermont and the region that were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are anxiously awaiting relief in the form of a second stimulus package approved by Congress on Monday.

“To say it’s been rough is an understatement,” said Neil Solis, co-owner of The Daily Planet.

Neil and Rachel Solis became owners of The Daily Planet in downtown Burlington in the beginning of 2020. Although the restaurant has been standing for nearly 40 years, being new owners meant roadblocks when it came to getting some relief.

“We kept going down the road of getting grants and not receiving anything,” Solis said. “PPP was huge but it was gone.”

The pair ultimately turned to the community for help, launching a GoFundMe page to keep the business afloat. While Vermonters have certainly shown support, they’re hoping this round of stimulus funding will provide the boost they need.

“We’re really hoping a change is made to the eligibility requirements for these grants,” Rachel Solis said.

In Plattsburgh, officials say they’re not sure how much longer businesses could keep the lights on.

“It was causing concern that ‘gosh we made it this far but I’m not sure I’m gonna make it out the other end of this thing,'” said North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas.

Douglas praises this round of funding. In addition to aiding hundreds of small businesses, it also includes targeted support to theaters, music venues, museums, as well as broadband support.

“To close the broadband gaps we’ve now seen throughout the pandemic, not out of a matter of convenience but essential,” Douglas said. “That’s tele-medicine, tele-education, tele-business.”

Vermont officials are expected to provide more details on the stimulus package during Tuesday’s press briefing.

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